The four topic areas will be dealt with as four separate units, each lasting 2 days. The first day of each unit will consist of an introduction to the topic by a top-class lecturer. The second day will be dedicated to the work of the participants: each participant will present his topic in an orally to the rest of the group and this will then be discussed by the participants.

Autonomous systems

Autonomous systems pose a real challenge for the law. The resolution of the European Parliament dated 16.02.2017 requires that solutions to fundamental and positively revolutionary questions are found. The questions regarding the regulation of the accountability for damage caused by robots are, undoubtedly of manifest importance and given the wide-ranging implications and consequences of such regulation, the discussions regarding possible solutions are extremely controversial. The resolution appears to favour the collection of claims over civil law accountability – a step with far-reaching consequences. As strange as it may seem to be thinking about giving subjective rights to autonomous systems or about punishing robots, theses are questions which are unavoidable and fundamental in the face of the automation of systems.

“Internet of Things” and IT Security

The key words “Internet of Things“ or, the in Germany more commonly used term "Industry 4.0", describe the trend which extends the, for the internet typical, networking of communication partners to individual machines. In the case of the classic internet, specific computers were connected whereas in the future, individual machines and products will communicate automatically and directly with one another. This year, IT-Security has finally developed into a key social and political topic. The “Internet of Things” highlights importance of this issue even further.

Accordingly, the efforts to master the associated technical and legal problems are extensive. The European NIS-Regulation and other, branch specific, legislative acts, (for example in the area of finance with the Payment Services Directive 2 from 2015) raise the legal regulation of IT-Security to a new level.

Data Protection and Big Data

Data protection belongs to the most intensively and controversially discussed legal topics of current times. With the DSGVO, the EU is trying to create a uniform legal framework, the content of which is however based on the Data Protection Regulation of 1995 and which takes the traditional concepts of data protection forward. The US-American legal system on the other hand lacks a similar data protection system. Rather than having general regulation, the reliance in the US is on specific rules, for example for the protection of consumers – there is more emphasis on transparency than on private data protection ("Datensparsamkeit"). Japan has recently passed modern Data Protection legislation which is clearly based on the Data Protection Regulation but which sets its own priorities und seeks to achieve a compromise between the need for data protection and the use of the data.

Legal Tech

The key word “Legal Tech” describes technology which could be signifiant for legal processes. The most well- known example is the technology Blockchain, which is not only the technical basis for a novel electronic currency (Bitcoin) but is also instrumental in deliberations about new forms of co-operation. Contracts should be concluded as "smart contracts" with the use of Blockchains, companies will no longer by controlled by a board of directors but by the use of an algorithm.

Legal processes and applications are changing massively under the influence of such technologies and this is calling the existing legal regulation into question. At the same time, technology has to adapt to the requirements of the legal framework.