Home>The Clinic>Digilaw

The Clinic: Digilaw

The objective of DIGILAW is to train and work with law students to find concrete solutions to a practical problem:

  • How can the values and rights needed to sustain democracies and the common good be upheld and ensured in our digital world?
  • What is the role of the law in this environment where technologies, infrastructures, big players and users themselves construct normativities beyond the law itself?

Indeed, from the early decentralized infrastructure of the Internet, that held the promise of a space independent of the tyrannies of the Governments of the Industrial world, the Internet is now largely dominated by seven technology companies whose business practices, and AI intermediated decision-making, can be harmful for society and democracy. It has also become a tool that can facilitate discrimination, reinforce inequalities, unleash hate speech and disinformation, and allow for censorship and increased surveillance by governments.
Awareness is hence growing that in cyberspace, as in real space, safeguarding rights and sustaining order to protect the common good is crucial.

DIGILAW will involve teams of students and researchers working on action-research projects addressing these issues, designed in collaboration with a range of partners from civil society, public institutions and private actors.

The DIGILAW clinic is funded as part of the New Digital Rule of Law project with Project Liberty’s Institute (former McCourt Institute).

Pedagogical team

The DIGILAW clinic programme is taught in English and is coordinated by :

Projects 2023-2024

Terms and conditions, policies related to personal data, as well as other diverse documents that regulate the use of products and services, are fundamental to the relationship between users and platforms, and crucial elements to understand dynamics of power that characterize the current technological landscape. As the the range of services and products offered under the label of 'Artificial intelligence' evolves rapidly, and so do regulatory proposals, looking at these documents and how they change proves a fundamental undertaking.

The project aims at leveraging Open Terms Archive to create a database of terms of selected AI generatives services using Open Terms Archive dedicated tools, as well as to engage in the analysis of related changes. It also more ambitiously seeks to analyse the current evolving regulatory landscape and reflect on compliance assessment.

This clinical project aims to investigate certain aspects of algorithmic predictive justice with a focus on the role of algorithmic surveillance in criminal cases concerning terrorist suspects in France. In several cases, preliminary research has allowed to identify that intelligence gathered at the early stage of (algorithmic) watchlisting has been increasingly used as evidence in criminal trials to prosecute and sentence potentially dangerous individuals (before any violent act has been committed). 

By partnering with lawyers of the current Conférence du Stage cohort, the Observatoire International des Prisons, and the journalist Rémi Carayol, the clinical team will test the hypothesis that some court decisions and prison sentences are based (sometimes, solely) on evidence derived from digital (public and private) communications derived from intelligence. 

Attention will then move to the modes of evaluation of radicalization of these detainees in prison considering that, even in cases where no violent act has been committed, judges pronounce prison sentences. In detention, these detainees and their potential dangerousness are monitored, mainly with a view to organizing post-detention surveillance. We aim to bring to light the modalities of evaluation of radicalization in and after detention, by paying particular attention to the combination of humans and technology to conduct such reviews.

Meeting with Julia Vieira and Emma James

Emma James, Julia Vieira and Sarah Roman-Jakob

They share with us their experience about the Clinic project "Digital identity and the right to opacity".

Read the article.

Meeting with Lucas Costa Dos Anjos

Lucas Costa Dos Anjos, chercheur postdoctoral, enseignant et coordinateur de la Clinique DIGILAW

Lucas Costa Dos Anjos is a Postdoctoral Researcher, a Teacher and a Coordinator of the DIGILAW Clinic

Read the article.