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Summary by Dr. Filipec

On the 26th and 27th of April 2023 Faculty of Law, Palacký University in Olomouc hosted the Jean Monnet Scientific Conference dedicated to the topic of the European Union’s Response on the Challenges of Modern Society. The conference was organized under the umbrella of the Czech Association of European Studies, Faculty of Law, and Jean Monnet Network „European Union and the Challenges of Modern Society (Legal Issues of Digitalization, Robotization, Cyber Security and Prevention of Hybrid Threats)”.

The event was opened by Prof. JUDr. Naděžda Šišková, Ph.D., Head of Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in EU Law, Faculty of Law, Palacký University, President of the Czech Association for European Studies, Coordinator of Jean Monnet Network. She introduced the Jean Monnet Network, its aims, and project partners. She highlighted valuable publication outputs of fruitful cooperation among partners and many events which were organized under the network. Prof. Šišková stressed the importance of the topic, which is bringing many challenges and controversies, including the petition of scientists to stop the development of AI or highlighting the need to further work on ethical aspects of AI. She summarized the topics of the conference and challenges linked to robotization, digitalization, and hybrid threats, touching on the topics of the digital economy including customer protection or market competition.

The opening ceremony continued with a welcome address by the Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization, PhDr. Ivan Bartoš, Ph.D., greeted academics and students. He congratulated Palacký University on its 450th anniversary and highlighted the issue of digitalization in the life of society. He stressed, that state institutions and organizations within civil sectors are suffering from cyber-attacks and therefore it is necessary to work on a resilient society that is using the advantages of digitalization or AI. He stressed, that AI might be a great tool for the effectiveness of the work and it’s not necessary to fear it when establishing appropriate regulation.

Guests were welcomed also by JUDr. Zdenka Papoušková, Ph.D. welcomed participants and thanked prof. Naděžda Šišková and the organizing committee for preparing this conference. She expressed belief, that conference will bring fruitful results and stimulate interesting discussion. Participants were greeted also by the Dean of the faculty, Doc., JUDr.  Václav Stehlík, Ph.D., LL.M., thanked participants and presented a welcoming attitude of the faculty to all researchers and partners from the Jean Monnet Network. He wished good luck to the researchers in finalizing outcomes and thanked prof. Šišková for her dedication to the Jean Monnet Network and Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for many years of successful activities.

PhDr. Petr Kolář, Former Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Russia and former Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the USA dedicated his contribution to the question: “Was the Russian War against Ukraine Inevitable? Could We Avoid It? What Is the Lesson Learned?” He opened his contribution by stressing the fact, that the West is partially co-responsible for the outbreak of war with underestimating the threat and focusing on welfare. He highlighted, that the security of Ukraine was guaranteed by the Budapest Memorandum, which lead to the nuclear disarmament of Ukraine and there were various other agreements providing guarantees to Ukraine. Vladimir Putin clearly expressed, that Russia can survive only as a superpower and it is evident, that Russia cannot be a superpower without Ukraine. The same Vladimir Putin who said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy (not the Second World War, not the holocaust). It was clear, that Putin would try to renew the power of Russia and restore the Soviet Union. It was a warning signal. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia and a rather weak response and appeasement allowed further aggression. According to Kolář, it was a mistake and gesture of weakness, to have a constructive approach towards Russia. In 2012 Putin was elected again in a stolen election and two years after he started his campaign against Ukraine. In the perception of Putin, Ukraine had no right to self-determination and independence. However, it was surprising for Putin, that Europe stayed united and adopted sanctions. This was followed by the attempt to split attention and thus Russia decided to invade Syria. According to Kolář, we can also talk about Brexit which brought the idea to Russia, that European unity is breaking, and respect from Donald Trump brought him more confidence in the plans to restore the empire. Moreover, it was Donald Trump who claimed that NATO is obsolete and that maybe the USA will leave. In 2020 Biden won elections in the USA, but Vladimir Putin thought that he is just another old man who will underplay the role of the USA. Biden decided to leave Afghanistan and it was another signal interpreted as a weakness of the USA, which was further supported by the US focus on China. In other words, it seemed that Europe and Ukraine are abandoned which was a terrible mistake “inviting” Russia to intervene. Putin believed that Russian soldiers will be welcomed or that Zelensky is a comedian, not a real president. This was, however, a terrible miscalculation. Nonetheless, also the West was blinded by energy dependence on Russia and underestimated the security situation.

Another speaker was Prof. Volodymir Vasylenko, from the Kyiv Mohyla University, who was the former Ambassador of Ukraine to Great Britain, and a former member of the International Criminal Court for former Yugoslavia. He spoke about “The Russian Hybrid War Against Ukraine and Model of its International Responsibility for Crime of Aggression. He shared his views on ten years of aggression against Ukraine and summarized the prelude of the actions. He stressed that international law is silent about hybrid war and the definition of hybrid warfare, despite many doctrines. In his opinion, hybrid methods of war are mainly based on soft power, and that is why cannot be covered by the international, even though long-term effects might result in violence. He stressed, that Russia started the hybrid war already before the fall of the Soviet Union, namely in the 1920s to ruin and undermine identity and the foundations of the state, which was now peaking during Putin’s rule. There are four types of hybrid war: 1) Linguist-cultural war, 2) Propaganda war, 3) History war 4) Confessional war religious war. The first is based on the elimination of the Ukrainian language and culture.  Second, the propaganda war is aimed to undermine the state and spread lies about Ukraine and Russia. Third, to change the memory of the people and provide a dominant Russian interpretation of events. And fourth, to undermine the church in Ukraine. The rest of his contribution was dedicated to various aspects of aggression and legal definitions differing in many aspects. He concluded his presentation with a summary of steps, which might help Russia to restore democratic status, and accept responsibility and peace in the region, which is unfortunately now linked to the military defeat of Russia.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Peter-Christian Muller-Graff, Head of the Chair for Economic and European Law, Faculty of Law Heidelberg University, President of the German Association of European Community Studies talked about “Legal Implications of the Current Question of the European Union´s Strategic Sovereignty”. He stressed, that the EU published its strategic compass, just one month after the aggression. Up to the mind comes the issue of competence for the EU to act as a sovereignty actor. The question is, what are the concepts of strategic sovereignty, and how it is linked to the primary law? He stressed several formulations in the primary law of the EU including principles that are aimed at self-understanding of the role of the EU. However, there are some limits, in a narrative linked to article 2 of the TEU key principles for the principles of the West. Law cannot substitute the real “will power” and willingness is the key. The rest of the presentation was dedicated to demonstrating the different sovereignty of the EU in energy, trade, and defense. It is very interesting, as for example, in nuclear energy states are having different concepts and strategies. This is also the case of trade and divergence of EU countries in the attitudes towards the “New Silk Road” project of China, expressing the division in the “16+1” format (out of 27). Moreover, defense cooperation is also deeply divided by the priorities and different approaches of the EU member states, e. g. to the question of establishing an EU army, supra nationalization, or even selection of projects under existing PESCO cooperation. To sum up, the strategic autonomy depends strongly on the competence of the EU.

The final speaker of the panel was Mgr. et Mgr. Ondřej Filipec, Ph.D., Palacký University in Olomouc and Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in EU Law, who spoke about EU-NATO cooperation in hybrid threats prevention and cybersecurity. In the beginning, he stressed, that from a certain point of view, EU and NATO might be considered independent actors, which might be well researched in the context of “new institutionalism” covering various streams including rational choice institutionalism, sociologic or historical institutional or discursive institutionalism. Regarding theoretical background, Dr. Filipec highlighted forces preventing closer cooperation between the EU and NATO (including diverging roles of both actors, different membership, and ideological cleavages) or supportive of cooperation (natural allies, complementarity of tasks, technical nature of some activities or shared aims). His contribution revealed several areas of cooperation which since 2016 various areas attributed to hybrid threats, notably capacity building based on staff changes, Parallel and Coordinated Assessment, cooperation within strategic communication, cooperation in civil preparedness and crisis management, counterterrorism, WMD proliferation, or cyber incident response.

The second panel of the conference was entitled “Digital Technologies and Human Rights. Case-law in the Field of Fundamental Rights in the Light of Modern Technologies. Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and the New Rights” was opened by the Assoc. Prof. Lenka Pítrová, from the Department of European Law, Faculty of Law, Charles University in Prague, welcomed JUDr. Emil Ruffer, Ph.D., Director of the International Law Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, who dedicated his presentation to case studies of the Council of Europe and its contribution to the AI Convention. The presentation entitled From CAHAI to CAI and Beyond – The Process of Negotiation the Convention on Artificial Intelligence in the Council of Europe’s Intergovernmental Committee 2019-2023 provided a unique expert insight into the topic including the political background of the inter-governmental working committees of experts. At the beginning of working for CAHAI was a question, of whether we need a regulation based on a Council of Europe standards. The opinion given to the Council of Ministers was affirmative and the committee provided more than 100 pages of detailed analysis. The result of CAHAI was the final document “Possible elements of the regulatory framework” which was accepted for the initial work of CAI. Principles, rules, and rights, that design and development of AI comply with human rights, principles of democracy, and rule of law. This included also follow-up aimed at compliance by the member states. Today, the convention is having 55 member states, going far beyond the membership. In other words, there is global potential, including the USA, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and Holy See, but also UNESCO and other actors, including NGOs, civil society, etc. However, it is just the beginning, as there are many aspects to be discussed. Moreover, there are parallel processes, including the one in the European Union to regulate the AI (e. g. Artificial Intelligence Act).

            The second speaker was JUDr. Ondrej Hamulak, Ph.D., Department of International and European Law, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Law Palacky University & Mgr. Lusine Vardanyan, Ph.D. candidate, Palacky University in Olomouc, and Mgr. Hovsep Kocharyan, who spoke about the Right to Internet Access and asked the question, of whether it shall be considered a New Fundamental Right or a New „Platform“ for Fundamental Rights. The latest development and especially Covid-19 raised the question, of whether the „right to access“ shall be recognized as a new fundamental human right. On one hand, supporters claim, that this right shall be established as in fact most human rights are already realized through internet technologies. On the other hand, the second group of researchers argue, that internet access is an enabler of rights, not right itself. The Internet is having a unique nature and provides access to a space separate from the offline world, previously unknown to humans. Moreover, it might be argued, that internet access is not a right given to humans by nature. On the other hand, the ECHR is a living instrument that shall be interpreted in a contemporary light. There are many practical issues to accept and create such rights: e. g. technical issues having devices to access. There is a question of how to define the „right to access” and „right to the internet“. Because here are overlapping two different things. To conclude, internet access is not only a simple platform but at the same time, it is not an independent human right itself.

JUDr. Soňa Matochová, Ph.D., Head of the Analytic Department, Czech Data Protection Office talked about the “Current Issues of Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights.”European Commission defines AI as the ability of machines to imitate human abilities such as reasoning, learning, planning, or creativity. However, this definition is further extended in different areas, including robotics, neural networks, fuzzy logic, etc. So far, AI is helping us in daily activities, however, there is a clear threat of getting AI out of control (see for example Asilomar AI Principles).  Creating a perfect act (or regulation) is just a very basic issue, however, its effect will always rely on interpretation, understanding of the content, and implementation which produces many challenges for researchers and decision-makers.

Another speaker was Mgr. Hovsep Kocharyan, Ph.D. candidate at the Faculty of Law Palacký University. He spoke about the Key Challenges of the Application of the Right to be Forgotten in Post-GDPR EU Law. After presenting several definitions, his contribution focused on case law, which opened the debate and contributed to the legal understanding of the issue including the Google Spain case. Today, there are still many unclear areas including the post-mortem application of the right within the EU law, the problem of extraterritorial application, unclear scope of application, the lack of ex-ante protection (without undue delay), etc. Another analyzed case was GC and Others v. CNIL or Pharos SA v. Commission of the European Communities.

                        The final speaker of the section was Mgr. MA. Martin Mach, a Ph.D. candidate, Faculty of Law, Palacký University dedicated his contribution to the Judgement of the European Court of Justice in case C-460/20 in the Context of Photographs on social media. The court in the case TU, RE v. Google LLC was dealing with the question of which the burden of proof falls on the application for the removal of a search result where the applicant has identified the search result as false. Mr. Mach made a test and searched his name on Google and various pictures appeared, not showing his visualization. This is having implications, as there are 14,2 billion pictures uploaded daily to the top 5 social networks. He concluded that the application of the right to be forgotten to image files is a significant step forward, however, it is slowed down by many unknowns, including the questionable application about social networks.

The final panel of the day was dedicated to the Issues of Robotization and its Challenges. AI Liability, prevention of Risks, AI, and Human Rights was opened by the Assoc. Prof. JUDr. Monika Forejtová, PhD., Head of the Department of Constitutional and European Law, Faculty of Law, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. The first speaker was Assoc. Prof. JUDr. Marie Patakyová, Ph.D., from theDepartment of European Law, Faculty of Law Comenius University in Bratislava, dedicated her presentation to the“Algorithmic Collusion and the Proposals de Lege Ferenda“. She stressed, that sometimes algorithms are used to adapt the price for the consumer without knowledge and there are ways, in which the effects of algorithms are hidden. There are several ideas on how to deal with the issue, however, there are practical challenges, for example, the necessity to analyze the code. Part of the solution might be international agreements and their implementation with certain criteria to be met. There is a question of whether there shall be some authority proactively searching for such type of algorithms or it shall be dealt with differently.

The second speaker was Assoc. Prof.JUDr. Jozef Andraško, Ph.D., the Vice-Dean and Director of the Institute of Digital Technologies and Intellectual Property, from the  Faculty of Law, Comenius University in Bratislava, spoke about “Automated Vehicles and Incident Notification”. There is legal regulation of automated vehicles in the Regulation (EU) 2019/2014. However, there are something like (Fully) Automated vehicles too which are totally replacing the controls of the human driver. However, there are some limits as they operate on specific types of roads. There are many examples from Germany, France, and Estonia. Since 2023 Slovak legislation recognized fully autonomous vehicles. In this case, there is a question of what shall be covered by cyber security. What should be protected, and what are the threats, incidents, or measures? Partially, it is covered by the NIS Directive, which is setting up the notification obligations, measures implementation, etc. which shall be transposed until October 2024. The question is whether they shall notify significant incidents in the case of automated vehicles or automatic driving systems. Is it applicable to manufacturers? In the case of an incident? Or an important incident? Where are the borders in between? The definition of an incident is very broad and other provisions under article 23 (e. g. service in question?). There are questions of liability in case of infected build-up robots that spread the infection further. There must be a certificate of compliance for cybersecurity management systems.

Dr. Agnes Kasper, PhD., from theDepartment of Law, Tallinn University of Technology, entitled her presentation “Bug off! – The implications of cybersecurity duty of care.“ Cybersecurity started from economic and privacy issues to national security, resilience, and technological sovereignty aspects, with many dichotomic domains Public/Private, Civilian or Military etc. Bugs and vulnerabilities in digital products are having inherent features. Can we have 100 % security? This question implies limitations and vulnerabilities are considered enablers of cyber-attacks. To cover vulnerabilities, there are norms of prohibition, permissions, and obligations to do something about vulnerabilities. In relation to the duty of care, there is a question of by whom and for what? Producers or Users? Or both? And what might be the responses in terms of entanglement? The answer might be in deeper integration and synchronization of policies. There are institutions including ENISA, EC3, or EDA, which might contribute to Joint Cyber Unit and solutions of the challenge.

Another presentation was delivered by Dr. Maria Claudia Solarte Vasquez, Senior lecturer, Department of Law, Tallinn University of Technology who spoke about Transaction Design and Human Centred Automation. She provides a very comprehensive overview of the trends, including technology development and socio-economic development which are bringing new questions regarding converging tracks in technology governance. One of the challenging trends is the growing complexity of technology, the behavior of users, etc. As the answer, we have here a proliferation of formal and general regulatory experiments with varying transparency. The conclusions were dedicated to the need of human centric approach to governing the AI.

Final speaker of the day was Mgr. Bohdan Pshenichnyi, a Ph.D. student from the Institute of International Relations, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, who talked about the “Legal Principles of Use of Artificial Intelligence in Public Sphere”. His presentation was dedicated to the overview of principles, including the principle of transparency and protection. He spoke about setting up minimum standards for ensuring security of the AI-related use.

The event was organised within the implementation of the Jean Monnet Network „European Union and the Challenges of Modern Society (Legal Issues of Digitalization, Robotization, Cyber Security and Prevention of Hybrid Threats) Project id: 611293-EPP-1-2019-1-CZ-EPPJMO-NETWORK.