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Welcome to Week 8! This has been an exciting fortnight in science and technology law, with particular highlights being Australia's proposed new surveillance laws, and the announcement of the Australian National Blockchain.

Upcoming Events

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Science, Objectivity and Political Responsibility in the Litigation of Two Oil Spills 11 September, Melbourne School of Social and Political Sciences

This presentation examines the role of scientific experts and expertise in legal proceedings. It compares the decisions made by two scientists contributing to litigation concerning the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 and petroleum contamination in the Ecuadorian Amazon by ChevronTexaco from the mid-1960s through to the early 1990s.

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New Reporting and Investigation of Medical Accidents in Japan
14 September, Melbourne Law School
New reporting and investigation of medical accidents was introduced in 2014, but few medical accidents are currently reported by medical organisations. The culture of blame may be a major barrier to the openness and honesty required for incidents to be reported. This seminar will discuss the statistics of medical reporting, as well as the differences between the new reporting, investigation and civil litigation.

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The Evolution of AI in Information Security
18 September, Victorian Society for Computers and the Law
Panellists for this session will explore case studies of how organisations want to embrace AI, its impact and how AI/machine learning is being applied in automated attacks and defence.

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Emerging Frontiers in International Environmental Law
22 November, Melbourne Law School
This seminar brings together expert contributors to the planned 2nd edition of the Oxford Handbook on International Environmental Law. It will feature presentations on: the interface of science with international environmental law; the impact of IP law on international environmental law; efforts to deal with fragmentation, including the draft Global Pact for the Environment; and key challenges in national implementation of international environmental laws. 

Science and Technology Law News

Australia Wants to Take Government Surveillance to the Next Level
A new bill will help intelligence agencies circumvent encryption. And what starts Down Under won’t necessarily stay there.

Eyes in the Sky: The New Way to Identify Human Rights Abuses
The "firehose" of satellite imagery now available is helping to corroborate eyewitness testimony and disproves counter-claims from perpetrators.

IBM, Data61, and Herbert Smith Freehills partner to develop Australian National Blockchain
IBM, the CSIRO’s Data61, and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills have teamed up to develop the Australian National Blockchain, a large-scale, publicly available blockchain solution designed for Australian legal compliance.

The Rise of the Crypto Hedge Fund: Opportunities and Challenges
The extraordinary returns generated by cryptocurrencies have led to a frenzy of investment activity and interest from investors. Several new crypto hedge funds have emerged, and cryptocurrency is fast establishing itself as a mainstream asset class.

Franken-algorithms: The Deadly Consequences of Unpredictable Code
The death of a woman hit by a self-driving car highlights an unfolding technological crisis, as code piled on code creates ‘a universe no one fully understands’.

Apple's Next Big Product Will Be Computer Glasses, Mounting Evidence Suggests
It seems like the company has decided it will launch a pair of smartglasses that can impose digital information onto the real world through its advanced lenses.The latest brick in this mound of evidence? Apple recently acquired a small Colorado based company, Akonia Holographics.

It's Time to Break Up Facebook
In Tim Wu's new book The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, he argues compellingly for a return to aggressive antitrust enforcement in the style of Teddy Roosevelt, saying that Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other huge tech companies are a threat to democracy as they get bigger and bigger.