Welcome to the second issue of 2016 of the European Journal of Law and Technology. We present three original articles in this issue that address important and topical areas including child online safety, Internet of Things, and criminal sanctions in copyright law.
In our first article titled 'Protecting children's privacy online: a critical look to four European self-regulatory initiatives', Macenaite critically examines the European self-regulatory initiatives that seek to protect children's privacy online. In light of the sharp increase in internet usage by children and the serious concerns that have been raised in relation to their online safety, this is a very timely article and makes a useful contribution to the discussion in this area.
Noto La Diega and Walden in their article 'Contracting for the 'Internet of Things': looking into the Nest' examine some of the complexities of Internet of Things by using a case study approach. The authors focus on the 'legals' of a specific product, the Nest connected thermostat, which is part of the Nest labs business and owned by Google. They make a persuasive case for revisiting the concept of 'product' in the world of IoT, citing the 'frequent inextricable mixture of hardware, software, data and service'.
Copyright infringement on the internet continues to be a challenging issue, and we have seen a number of legislative initiatives over a period of time that seek to protect right holders' interests. In their article 'The UK's criminal copyright proposals in an era of technological precision', Romero-Moreno and Griffin analyse the proposal to reform copyright law by implementing provisions to increase criminal penalties. The authors are critical of the current proposals and reject the claims that these are 'appropriate', 'affordable' or 'feasible', and cautions against the introduction of increased criminal sanctions in the current environment of 'legal uncertainty' in this area.
Law has always had to adapt to changing technologies, as we have already seen following earlier developments in the telecommunications and broadcast sector. The pace at with information technology continues to evolve, however, is unprecedented. New technologies clearly bring an array of opportunities, but it also raises challenges for the law. The law has a delicate balancing act to do in terms of responding to the challenges, and at the same time not hindering the overall benefits of technology. The articles in this edition show just how complex this task can be, and make a very useful contribution to the discourses in this context.
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow