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Law On Trial 2019: Communication Technologies

Running from 10th to 14th June, the School of Law’s annual Law on Trial week focused on the theme of Communication Technologies on Trial.

Over five evenings the School of Law welcomed almost 30 speakers to a series of open to the public, focused debates investigating the implications of communication technologies. Themes included democracy, social and financial exclusion, cultural production, work and the environment, and security, privacy and surveillance. It was jointly organized with the Velux funded digital humanities project "The Past's Future", which is based at the Saxo Institute and the School of Law at the University of Copenhagen.

Law on Trial organiser and Professor of Law at Birkbeck, Fiona Macmillan said,

"Despite the wide range of issues that we canvassed in this year's Law on Trial week there were two general themes that came up in each of our five panel debates. One of these focussed on the possibility of reclaiming the utopian potential of these technologies to unite us all in a well-informed globally connected community. This was counter-posed against the increasingly dystopian attributes of an intrusive technological environment controlled by private multinational corporations and driven by a thirst for the vast accumulation of high value data.

The other general theme focussed on the unclear boundaries between the immaterial and material, the intangible and the tangible.  Many speakers remarked on the wide material effects of communications technology on the natural environment, on our spaces for work and recreation, and on our modes of cultural production. I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the participants who took part."

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