Cyber Law Conference Budapest 30th November 2017 – Review

On 30th November 2017 the Infocommunication Law Department of Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church Faculty of Law organized a great conference on Budapest about the hot topics of cyber law. I had the opportunity to not just take part but make a lecture about the news of the codification about social media.

My lecture was about the challenges that the legislation have to face to when it starts to think about the legislation for social media. I took a look at the specialty of this new generation of media and showed the legal systems where we can find specific acts in connection with the topic of social media. In this part, I presented the legal system of the United States and the acts about the legal aspects of online data after death. I also spoke about the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (see below) and how Germany step up against hate speech on Facebook, Twitter and co. At the end of my lecture I talked about the draft of the Hungarian data protection act, which contains provisions about the enforcement of personal rights after the affected persons death.

We can also hear great presentations in the first section about the role of algorithms in online content consumption, the information policy of states against social media, the connection between algorithms and competition law or the legal questions about the streaming of court hearings.

At the end of the first section, the audience had the opportunity to ask questions from the lecturers, so we started an exciting professional discussion about the lecture we have just heard.

The second section was about related legal issues, like the legal framework for intelligent networks and systems in energy, online systems for hearing or unfair online commercial practice.

I really enjoyed the whole programme, and hope for more professionally organized conference about these very current topics.

Is this a legal issue at all?

It is a fair question, but the answer is a big indisputable YES. The extremist views about the internet as a law-free zone are left behind for years, but the right answers from legislatures to the sensitive issues of the intemperate use of the web are yet to come.

If we focus on our main topic – legal aspects of online data after death – as far as we know there has been only one legal system until know, where the legislative power tried to find answers for these complicated legal and moral questions.

Of course, we can approach it from a theoretical aspect. If we think of the rules of privacy law, we can be lost easily, because the most of the national privacy laws consider personal data as information which can be connected to a natural person. That means after someones death, his or her online data ceases to be personal data and become… What? There is no answer in these laws for this question.

Only the „right of the dead” which is actually the subsistence of the deceased personal rights, and a legal tool for the relatives can help the mourning relatives to defend their lost loved one’s memory against offending comments and other immoral online actions, but it does not mean they have right to get access to the leftover online data, family pictures, unsent messages, etc. This is the Bermuda Triangle of this topic, where there are so less answers, and several uncleared issues.

As far as we know we can find related acts in the legal system of the United States. There are two levels of these acts: federal and on the level of member states. What is the content of these laws, and what is the relationship from the aspect of application? This is what my next post is going to be about.