Studying Law at RomaTre

Academic Year 2019-2020

Spring Semester (March 1 - May 31, 2020)


Digital Technologies and the Law

Prof. Giorgio Resta

II Semester, 2019-2020

7 CFUs - ECTS, Monday-Tuesday-Thursday, 14:15-16:00, room 11 (Tommaseo Building)

Office hours: Wednesday 12:30 – 13:30, Dipartimento di giurisprudenza, Room 239 2nd Floor

Course description:  
This course will provide an overview of the major issues related to the impact of digitalisation, interconnected networks, and artificial intelligence on contemporary law. Namely, it will focus on data-driven innovation and will explore the complex relationship between social and technological change and the evolution of the law. Controversial issues such as the regulation of digital platforms, decision making by algorithms, ownership of data, liquid surveillance, Internet of things, privacy in the social networks, smart contracting, liability in the cyberspace, will be analysed and discusses from a comparative law perspective. The main aim of the course is to provide an up-to-date overview about the major legal issues raised by the advent of digital technologies.

Course Learning Objectives
At the end of this course, students should:
  • Develop a better understanding of the impact of digitalisation on contemporary law
  • Develop the skills required for a lawyer working in an increasingly borderless and data-driven society
  • Foster analytic and reasoning abilities by confronting the black-letter rules with a rapidly changing societal context
  • Performing legal research and writing in English in the area of the law of digital technologies

Course Learning Activities
To achieve the above objectives, students will carefully read assigned materials, engage in class discussions, attend and report on guest lectures, make oral presentations and write a final research paper.

Assessment tools
Active participation to class activities (50%); final paper (50%).

Attendance policy
Class attendance is mandatory.

Course textbook(s)
Materials will be provided in class or through the e-learning platform.

Recommended course reading material:
See the list below

Syllabus (t.b.c.)
I. Law, regulation and technology

March 2
Introduction to the course:
a) digital technologies for the law;
b) digital technologies in the law;
c) law of digital technologies
No readings

March 3
Evolution of technology and legal change G. Mandel, Legal Evolution in Response to Technological Change (R. Brownsword et al., Oxford Handbook of Law, Regulation and Technology, 2017, 225)

R. Baldwin, The Globotics Upheaval. Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work, Oxford, 2019 - excerpts

March 5
Regulating digital technologies in different societies: the importance of comparative law

J.F. Weaver, Regulation of Artificial Intelligence in the United States (W. Barfield - U. Pagallo, Research Handbook on the Law of Artificial Intelligence, Cheltenham, 2018, 155)

Pres. Trump Executive Order n. 13859/2019, Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence

EU Commission Communication (2019), Artificial Intelligence for Europe

Chinese State Council (2017), New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan
II. Datafication and law’s architecture

March 9
How data and digital technologies challenge traditional notions of territory and space J. Daskal, The Unterritoriality of Data, 125 Yale L.J. 326 (2015) - excerpts

A. Keane Woods, Litigating Data Sovereignty, 128 Yale L. J. 328 (2018) - excerpts

Microsoft v. USA (2nd Cir., 2015)

March 10
Extraterritorial jurisdiction over data
CJEU, 13-5-2014, C-131/12, Google Spain; pars. 21-61

CJEU, Grand Chamber, 24-9-2019, C-507/17, Google v. CNIL

Sup. Ct. Can., 28-6-2017, [2017] 1 SCR 824, Google v. Equustek

CJEU, 3-10-2019, Case C-18/18, Glawischnig- Piesczek v Facebook Ireland

Art. 3 EU Regulation 2016/679
Art. 1 (2) Eu Regulation 2019/1150

March 12
Data sovereignty and data localization policies

A. Keane Woods, Litigating Data Sovereignty, 128 Yale L. J. 328 (2018) - excerpts

H. Ursic et al., Data localization measures and their impacts on data science (Research Handbook in Data Science and Law, 2018, 322) - excerpts

CJEU, Schrems decision (C-362/14)
Arts. 44-49 EU Regulation 2016/679

March 16
Transnational data surveillance and the role of non-state actors F. Bignami – G. Resta, Human Rights Extraterritoriality: The Right to Privacy and National Security Surveillance (in E. Benvenisti – G. Nolte, eds., Community Interests Across International Law, Oxford, 2018) - excerpts

M. Leiser – A. Murray, The Role of Non-State Actors and Institutions in the Governance of New and Emerging Digital Technologies (Oxford Handbook of Law, Regulation and Technology, 2017)
  1. Rozenshtein, Surveillance Intermediaries, 70 Stanf. L. Rev. 99 (2018) - excerpts

ECHR, Big Brothers Watch v. UK, App. 58170/13 (2018)
CJEU, Digital Rights Ireland (C‑293/12 e C‑594/12)
III. Digital technologies and the changing landscape of property

March 17
Personal data as privacy or property: Europe v. USA J. Drexl, Legal Challenges of the Changing Role of Personal and Non-Personal Data in the Data Economy (A. De Franceschi – R. Schulze, Digital Revolution: New Challenges for Law, München – Baden-Baden, 2019) - excerpts

P.M. Schwartz – K.N. Peifer, Transatlantic Data Privacy Law, 106 Georgetown Law Journal 115 (2017) - excerpts

EU Regulation 2016/679


Paying with personal data : theory and practice of data exchanges

Guest speaker : Google
S. Zuboff,  Big others : surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization, 30 J. Inf. Techn. 75 (2015)

M. Schmidt-Kessel, Consent to the Processing of Personal Data and its Relationship to Contract (A. De FranceschiR. Schulze, Digital Revolution: New Challenges for Law, München – Baden-Baden, 2019)

Art. 7, EU Regulation 2016/679
Art. 3, EU Directive 2019/770
ICA, Facebook decision (2018)


Personal data, company assets and bankruptcy

Guest speaker : Italian Data Protection Authority

N. Singer, When a Company Is Put Up for Sale, in Many Cases, Your Personal Data Is, Too (NYTimes, 2015)

C. Piciocchi et al., Legal issues in governing genetic biobanks, J. Community Genet. (2018) 9:177–190 - excerpts

Washington University v. Catalona, 437 F. Supp. 2d 985 (2006)

Towards a property right on machine-generated data? J. Drexl, Designing Competitive Markets for Industrial Data. Between Propertisation and Access, 8 JIPITEC 257 (2017)

EU Commission, DG Internal Policies, Data flows: future scenarios, 2017 - excerpts

March 26
Data commons and the economy of data-sharing T. Dreier, Germany: Creating New Property Rights on the Basis of General Legal Concepts: Without Limits?, 2 JIPITEC 152 (2011)

H. Richter – P. Slowinski, The Data Sharing Economy: The Emergence of New Intermediaries, IIC, 2019, 4

March 30
Data as essential facilities? The antitrust perspective

Guest speaker: Prof. Giuseppe Colangelo
G. Colangelo – M. Maggiolino, Data accumulation and the privacy– antitrust interface: insights from the Facebook case, Int’l Data Privacy L., vol. 8, 2018, 224
German Competition Authority, Facebook ruling, 2019
IV Digital technologies and the changing landscape of contracts and torts

March 31
Transparency and fairness in digital contracts C. Busch, Towards Fairness and Transparency in the Platform Economy? A First Look at the P2B Regulation (A. De FranceschiR. Schulze, Digital Revolution: New Challenges for Law, München – Baden-Baden, 2019)
A. De Franceschi, Planned Obsolescence challenging the Effectiveness of Consumer Law and the Achievement of a Sustainable Economy, in EuCML, 2018, 217

ICA, Apple and Samsung cases
 EU Regulation 2019/1150

April 2
The reputation economy: data protection and contractual issues C. Busch, Crowdsourcing Consumer Confidence: How to Regulate Online Rating and Review Systems in the Collaborative Economy (A. De Franceschi, European Contract Law and the Digital Single Market, 2016, 223)

D. Keats Citron – F. Pasquale, The Scored Society: Due Process for Automated Predictions, 89 Washington Law Review 1 (2014) - excerpts

April 6
3d Printing 

Guest speaker : Dott. Edoardo Ruzzi
G. Howells, C. Twigg-Flesner, Protecting the Values of Consumer Law in the Digital Economy : The case of 3D-printing (A. De FranceschiR. Schulze, Digital Revolution: New Challenges for Law, München – Baden-Baden, 2019, 214)

European Commission, The disruptive nature of 3d Printing

April 7
Liability : digital intermediation and IoT

Guest speaker : Prof. Francesco Mezzanotte
F. Mezzanotte, Risk Allocation and Liability Regimes in the IoT (A. De FranceschiR. Schulze, Digital Revolution: New Challenges for Law, München – Baden-Baden, 2019, 169)
Oberdorf v. Inc, No. 18-1041 (3d Cir. 2019)

April 14
Digital Inheritance  Yahoo v Ajemian 84 N.E.3d 766 (Mass. 2017)

G. Resta, Digital Inheritance (A. De FranceschiR. Schulze, Digital Revolution: New Challenges for Law, München – Baden-Baden, 2019, 88)
V.  Digital Technologies and Fundamental Rights

April 16
Algorithmic discrimination
Council of Europe, Discrimination, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic decision-making, ed. by F.Z. Borgesius, Strasbourg, 2018 - excerpts

Courtland, The Bias Detectives, in Nature (2018)

State v. Loomis, 881 N.W.2d 749 (2016)
Houston Fed. Teachers v. Houston Independent, 251 F.Supp.3d 1168 (2017)

April 21
Algorithmic regulation: comparative approaches L. Edwards – M. Veale, Enslaving the Algorithm: From a ‘Right to an Explanation’ to a ‘Right to Better Decisions’?, IEEE Security & Privacy (2018) 16(3), 46–54

Art. 22 Regulation 2016/679

April 23
Biometric data, social credit systems and data-driven governance D. Mac Síthig – M. Siems, The Chinese social credit system: a model for other countries?, EUI Working Papers, Law 2019/01

State Council of China (2014), Notice concerning Issuance of the Planning Outline for the Construction of the Social Credit System 2014-2020

April 27
Smart cities and urban data

Guest speaker: Huawei
S. Ranchordas – A. Klop, Data-driven regulation and governance in smart cities (V. Mak et al., Research Handbook in Data-science and law, Cheltenham, 2018)

E. Morozov – F. Bria, Rethinking the Smart City. Democratizing Urban Technology, 2018 - excerpts

April 28
Anonymity in social networks and digital communications L. Rogal, Anonymity in Social Media, 7 Phoenix L. Rev. 61 (2013)

S. Chen, What’s in a Name ? – Facebook Real Name Policy and User Privacy, 28 Kan. J. L. Pub. Pol., 146 (2018)
ECHR Delfi v. Estonia,

Art. 2, German Network Enforcement Act, 2018

May 4
Digital copyright and human rights (I)

Guest speaker: Prof. Pierre-Emmanuel Moyse (McGill University)

B. Farrand, Digital copyright and human rights: a balancing of competing obligations, or there is no conflict? (B. Wagner et al., Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology, Cheltenham, 2019, 53)

CJEU, 29-7-2019, Pelham Gmbh (Case C-476/17)

CJEU, 7-8-2018, Renckhoff (C‑161/17)

May 5
Digital copyright and human rights (II)

Guest speaker: Prof. Pierre-Emmanuel Moyse (McGill University)

 Same readings
 VII.  The Regulation of Digital Platforms

May 7
The disruptive effect of digital platforms O. Lobel, The Law of the Platform, 101 Minn. L. Rev. 87, 166 (2016) - excerpts

K. Dau-Schmidt, Trade, Commerce, and Employment: The Evolution of the Form and Regulation of the Employment Relationship in Response to the New Information Technology (R. Brownsword et al., Oxford Handbook of Law, Regulation and Technology, 2017, 1052)

EU Commission Communication, A European agenda for the collaborative economy (2016)
CJEU, Uber case (C-434/15)
CJEU, AirBnB case (C-390/18)

May 11
Hate speech, fake news and platform regulation

Guest speaker: Facebook
V. Claussen, Fighting hate speech and fake news. The Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) in Germany in the context of European legislation, in MediaLaws, 2018

Knight First Amendment v Trump (928 F.3d 226 (2d Cir. 2019)

Court of Rome, Casapound Order (2019)

May 12
Platform economy, social networks and democracy F.J.Z. Borgesius et al, Online Political Microtargeting: Promises and Threats for Democracy, 14 Utrecht L. Rev. 82 (2018)

FTC, In the matter of Cambridge Analytica

May 14
How digital technologies are changing the theory and practice of the law: towards a “digital lawyer”? A. Casey – A. Niblett, A Framework for the new Personalization of Law, 86 U. Chicago L. Rev. 333 (2019)

O. Goodenough, Developing an E-Curriculum: Reflections on the Future of Legal Education and on the Importance of Digital Expertise 88 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 845 (2013)

Attention! There will be no class on April 20 and April 30


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