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[Technology]

AI, human rights, democracy and the rule of law

Dr Dirk Brand on 6 June 2024

One of the pillars of the European Union’s Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act, 2024) is the protection of fundamental human rights, democracy and the rule of law.  In 2022 the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy in the USA published a Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights.  At an international level the protection of human rights in the development and use of AI is confirmed in the Council of Europe Framework Convention on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law (2024).  These are only some of the policy and legal initiatives relating to AI and human rights.  It is thus fair to conclude that the protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the context of AI is not only acknowledged in various policy and legal frameworks, but it is also given specific meaning.  A brief overview of the extent of human rights protection in these documents is provided next.

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[Intellectual property (Prosecution & management)]

Evergreening: Is it really a case of use it or lose it?

Chris Brand & Lara Wessels on 6 May 2024

Our previous blog post, which concerned two UK supermarket giants, Lidl and Tesco (https://swart.law/post.aspx?id=112), highlighted a strategy that appears quite often in practice in respect of United Kingdom and European Union trade marks; namely that of 'evergreening'.

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[Technology]

AI, elections and democracy

Dr Dirk Brand on 11 March 2024

Elections will be held in more than 60 countries, including the European Union, in the world in 2024 representing about 50% of the world’s population.  These countries include India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States of America.  It is therefore a crucial year for democracy around the world, although the quality of democratic governance differs significantly between all these countries.  Nevertheless, the outcome of these elections is not only important for the respective countries, but it will impact the global political landscape.

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[Technology]

Form 4-get-it (Developments in the law relating to direct marketing)

Dérick Swart, Mari Louw & Erin Botha on 8 March 2024

On the 27th of February 2024, the South African Information Regulator, established in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 ("POPIA"), issued its first enforcement notice in relation to unsolicited direct marketing.  The notice was announced in a media statement by the Regulator and sheds light on the Regulator's view of how POPIA is to be complied with in this context.

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[Technology]

Regulating data governance

Dr Dirk Brand on 7 December 2023

While the regulation of personal data protection has increased over the past few years and is now well established in most countries in the world, regulating the use and governance of other data is still a fairly new phenomenon. 

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[Intellectual property (Disputes & watching services)]

Winning the battle; but not the war: A lesson in strategic litigation

Chris Brand on 16 November 2023

A pyrrhic victory is much less a victory, and much more a consolation with dire repercussions. Perhaps hyperbole considering the results in the case of Lidl v Tesco [2023] EWHC 873 (Ch), but a lesson none the less must be taken from this judgment. 

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[Technology]

The legal implications of transparency related to artificial intelligence

Dr Dirk Brand on 21 September 2023

Transparency, when used as an important principle in constitutional law, is used as a tool to support accountability and good governance.  Citizens want to see and understand the decisions of public officials, so that they can hold the officials and government accountable. Transparency is also a key principle found in most policy documents on ethical and responsible AI.  While the notion of ‘making visible and understandable’ seems similar, transparency is a much more complex matter when dealing with AI.

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[Technology]

Regulating the AI value chain

Dr Dirk Brand on 4 September 2023

Regulating artificial intelligence is very different to regulating tangible products such as a motor vehicle or consumer goods.  This is simply due to the nature of the technology.  The various attempts to define AI are an indication of the complexity of regulating the technology.  The definition in the EU AI Act is such an example: “a machine-based system designed to operate with varying levels of autonomy and that can, for explicit or implicit objectives, generate outputs such as predictions, recommendations or decisions, which influence physical or virtual environments”.  

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[Technology]

Recent changes to the legal regulation of fibre network deployment

Mari Louw (approved by Dérick Swart) on 22 August 2023

Due to the growing desire for fast and reliable internet access in South Africa, the demand for fibre has boomed in the past decade.  The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa ("ICASA") reports that fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-building subscriptions have grown 4 231% between the years 2015-2021, compared to an increase of 61% for fixed line broadband subscriptions over the same period.

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[Technology]

Managing risks from software projects that involve blueprinting

Dérick Swart on 10 August 2023

The recently reported judgement of the case between Markit Systems and Fulcrum Group in the Gauteng High Court ([2023] ZAGPJHC 429) is like a movie I have seen play out many times over my career as a technology lawyer.  

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