Algorithmic regulation and rule of law | Mireille Hildebrandt

In this brief contribution, I distinguish between code-driven and data-driven regulation as novel instantiations of legal regulation. Before moving deeper into data-driven regulation, I explain the difference between law and regulation, and the relevance of such a difference for the rule of law. I discuss artificial legal intelligence (ALI) as a means to enable quantified legal prediction and argumentation mining which are both based on machine learning. This raises the question of whether the implementation of such technologies should count as law or as regulation, and what this means for their further development. Finally, I propose the concept of ‘agonistic machine learning’ as a means to bring data-driven regulation under the rule of law. This entails obligating developers, lawyers and those subject to the decisions of ALI to re-introduce adversarial interrogation at the level of its computational architecture.

Source: Algorithmic regulation and rule of law | Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

Opinion | What the Russia Hack Indictments Reveal About Bitcoin – The New York Times

Ironically, Bitcoin’s success depends on the same critical factor as a state-issued “fiat” currency: the collective trust of its community of users. Their confidence in the accuracy of the ledger of all Bitcoin transactions is what makes the currency viable. Law-abiding citizens want efficient, reliable payments. Bitcoin’s mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, realized this. His 2008 white paper said a great deal about cutting out banks; it said nothing about evading the rule of law.

Source: Opinion | What the Russia Hack Indictments Reveal About Bitcoin – The New York Times


This is the website of the CoHuBiCoL research project, for which Mireille Hildebrandt received an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council, enabling to set up a team of both lawyers and computer scientists, to conduct foundational research into computational law. The site will be updated as we go along. Note that the official starting date is January 2019.  We will investigate how the prominence of counting and computation transforms many of the assumptions, operations and outcomes of the law. The research targets two types of computational law:​artificial legal intelligence or data-driven law (based on machine learning), andcryptographic or code-driven law (based on blockchain technologies).


Law As Computation in the Era of Artificial Legal Intelligence. Speaking Law to the Power of Statistics by Mireille Hildebrandt :: SSRN

Mireille Hildebrandt

Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Radboud University

Date Written: June 7, 2017


The idea of artificial legal intelligence stems from a previous wave of artificial intelligence, then called jurimetrics. It was based on an algorithmic understanding of law, celebrating logic as the sole ingredient for proper legal argumentation. However, as Holmes noted, the life of the law is experience rather than merely logic. Machine learning, which determines the current wave of artificial intelligence, is built on a data-driven machine experience. The resulting artificial legal intelligence may be far more successful in terms predicting the content of positive law. In this article, I discuss the assumptions of law and the rule of law and confront them with those of computational systems. As a twin paper to my Chorley lecture on Law as Information, this should inform the extent to which artificial legal intelligence provides for responsible innovation in legal decision making.

Cloud Communities: The Dawn of Global Citizenship? – Globalcit

Cloud Communities: The Dawn of Global Citizenship?, kickoff contribution by Liav Orgad
Citizenship in Cloud Cuckoo Land?, by Rainer Bauböck
Citizenship in the Era of Blockchain-Based Virtual Nations, by Primavera De Filippi
Global Citizenship for the Stay-at-Homes, by Francesca Strumia
A World Without Law; A World Without Politics, by Robert Post
Virtual Politics, Real Guns: On Cloud Community, Violence, and Human Rights, by Michael Blake
A World Wide Web of Citizenship, by Peter J. Spiro
Citizenship Forecast: Partly Cloudy with Chances of Algorithms, by Costica Dumbrava
The Separation of Territory and State: a Digital French Revolution?, by Yussef Al Tamimi
A Brave New Dawn? Digital Cakes, Cloudy Governance and Citizenship á la carte, by Jelena Dzankic
Old Divides, New Devices: Global Citizenship for Only Half of the World, by Lea Ypi
Escapist technology in the service of neo-feudalism, by Dimitry Kochenov
Cloud communities and the materiality of the digital, by Stefania Milan
Cloud Agoras: When Blockchain Technology Meets Arendt’s Virtual Public Spaces, by Dora Kostakopoulou
Global Cryptodemocracy is Possible and Desirable, by Ehud Shapiro
The Future of Citizenship: Global and Digital. A Rejoinder, by Liav Orgad

Critical Analysis of Law

Vol 5, No 1 (2018): New Economic Analysis of Law

Guest edited by Frank Pasquale (University of Maryland, Law), the special issue on New Economic Analysis of Law features illuminating syntheses of social science and law. What would law & economics look like if macro-, as opposed to micro-, economics were a primary concern of scholars? Do emerging online phenomena, such as algorithmic pricing and platform capitalism, promise to perfect economic theories of market equilibrium, or challenge their foundations? How did simplified economic models gain ideological power in policy circles, and how can they be improved or replaced? This issue highlights scholars whose work has made the legal academy more than an “importer” of ideas from other disciplines—and who have, instead, shown that rigorous legal analysis is fundamental to understanding economic affairs.

Source: Critical Analysis of Law

The Politics of Blockchain | SpringerLink

The aim of this supplement is to explore and critique this ‘blockchain ecosystem’, the politics it tries to hide, and the legal and regulatory ramifications it inaugurates. The following essays do not portray blockchain as providing all, if any, of the answers to the world’s problems. Instead, the challenge is in part to understand the tensions faced by law and regulation in defining blockchain within the ongoing networking, digitalisation, and datafication of the social. Success in this regard will be measured in the coming months and years by the grip that regulatory authorities and governments are able to maintain on the various strands of blockchain research, development, application, implementation, and conduct—a grip, moreover, that is able to be maintained alongside the regulatory conundrums that continue to plague the wider field of network technologies which are themselves still evolving, mutating, impacting, but not necessarily benefiting community or public interest ahead of private, commercial power. Understanding the extent to which law and regulation will play a role in securing democratic accountability of these powerful and far-reaching technologies is or ought to be a key concern for blockchain scholars and practitioners of all stripes.

Source: The Politics of Blockchain | SpringerLink

Blockchains and Cybercurrencies Challenging Anti Trust and Competition Law by Stephan Breu


Blockchain technology has come to most people’s attention through Bitcoin as the leading cryptocurrency today. But the technology can be used for a lot of other applications as a way to store decentralized data and information. Blockchains are filing their records through a continuously growing number of single “blocks” which are linked and secured using cryptography. Typically, such blockchains are managed by a peer-to-peer network using a specified protocol for validating new blocks. By storing data across an international network, this new technology is operating independently of any government or central bank as it is not residing in a specific area of influence of any given regulation or jurisdiction. Also, there is the question as to which court has jurisdiction in context of blockchain disputes based on the international and anonymous structure. These systems also offer a high level of anonymity to their participants. Given these scenarios it has to be considered that blockchains with shared use of distributed ledgers by several competitors might be a considerable risk under antitrust and competition laws. To get full value for future blockchain applications, a deep cooperation and collaboration on a common platform by all participants – that often will also be competitors – will be necessary. Although collaborating to achieve an outcome more efficiently is generally not sanctioned by antitrust laws, there are still potential antitrust concerns to be considered. And finally, due to the automatic and irreversible execution of blockchain transactions, one has also to think about technical precautions for enforcing any possible court decisions. All these challenges for the future will ask for a strong self-regulation of the market participants in the digital marketplace.

Source: Blockchains and Cybercurrencies Challenging Anti Trust and Competition Law by Stephan Breu :: SSRN