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SINGAPORE, April 4, 2024 / -- TechLaw.Fest, Asia’s premier law and technology conference, returns in September, bringing together global legal, tech and government leaders to discuss topics ranging from last year’s crypto crash to the regulation of online intermediaries and generative artificial intelligence (“AI”).

Now in its sixth year, TechLaw.Fest will return to a fully in person conference at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre on 21 and 22 September 2023. It is co-organised by the Singapore Academy of Law (“SAL”), MP International and Singapore’s Ministry of Law.

Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Mr Edwin Tong SC will deliver the keynote speech on the first day while Dr Ian Walden, Professor of Information and Communications Law at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, will take the main stage on day two.

Dr Walden previously served as the centre’s director from 2018 to 2022 and has contributed to law reform projects for the World Bank, European Commission, and human rights group Council of Europe. He was also a board member and trustee of the Internet Watch Foundation, a leading tech charity working globally to eliminate online abuse. His expertise combines academic research, practical experience, and a deep understanding of the changing legal landscape.

International law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is once again TechLaw.Fest 2023’s Global TechLaw Partner. Mr William Hallatt, Co-Chair of Gibson Dunn’s Global Financial Regulatory Practice, and Mr Connell O’Neill, Head of Gibson Dunn’s APAC TMT Practice, will share their insights at the conference on the recent crypto crash and the complexities of generative AI. On behalf of the firm, Mr Hallatt said: “Both the law of technology and the technological tools in the practice of law are evolving at an increasingly fast pace. New technologies, like generative artificial intelligence, are profoundly changing the practice of law and challenging the boundaries of existing regulations.”

A conference highlight is its timely deep dive into generative AI, uncovering the transformative potential of the much talked about technology. However, its potential is accompanied by legal complexities, relating to intellectual property, copyright, privacy and data protection, civil liability and content moderation/misinformation or disinformation. Two panels on the first day, featuring policymakers, academics and practitioners will flesh out these issues for attendees.

At a time when many countries, China being the latest, are making their regulatory and governance approaches known, experts at the conference will compare and contrast varying frameworks, measures and laws across jurisdictions. TechLaw.Fest will also address sweeping global shifts in the regulation of online intermediaries, with the spotlight on Asian unicorns and the pace of regulatory adoption by governments in the region.

Another session will analyse the aftermath of the crypto crash and chart a possible path forward. Experts will also debate the causes of this crash, dubbed the crypto winter, and explore the pivotal role of regulations in shaping the cryptocurrency landscape.

Speakers include influential industry figures like Mr Timothy Ma, Head of International Privacy and Data Protection Department at Tencent; Mr Tarik Erk, SVP of Regulatory Compliance for; and Professor David Tan, Co-Director, Centre for Technology, Robotics, AI & the Law at the National University of Singapore (“NUS”).

SAL Chief Executive Mr Yeong Zee Kin said: “AI, in particular generative AI, has recently swept the world by storm, moving from fringe to mainstream attention in a very short time. The technology has led to remarkable progress in many fields with vast improvements seen in productivity, efficiency and decision-making.

“But the numerous drawbacks in AI including job displacement, ethical concerns about bias and privacy, security from hacking, a diminishing of human creativity and empathy, have also led to calls for regulations before it is too late.

“Through TechLaw.Fest, SAL will continue to be lead conversations on such hot button issues at the straddle the law of tech and the tech of law. Through these platforms, we can help stakeholders keep their finger on the pulse of developments in this evolving landscape.”

These conversations will be complemented by the launch of Technology Regulation in the Digital Economy, a new Academy Publishing title penned by Mr Yeong. The book delves into the role of telecommunications regulations in maintaining communication infrastructure, and the role of net neutrality laws in digital infrastructure. Moreover, it discusses how data is regulated, both to enhance business efficiency and to safeguard consumer interests and expectations of privacy.

In addition, delegates to TechLaw.Fest 2023 will get to meet the winners of this year’s Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA) awards. The awards will be given out for six different categories – Legal Innovation/Legal Tech for Good; Outstanding Legal Innovator (Law Firm); Outstanding Legal Innovator (In-house and Operations); Outstanding Legal Innovator (Solutions Provider); Outstanding Legaltech Entrant; and People’s Choice.

Ashutosh Ravikrishnan
Singapore Academy of Law