Law 2.0: an updated European legal framework for the digital society?

By Patrick Van Eecke and Antoon Dierick

Bill Gates once said that ‘(t)he day is quickly coming when every knee will bow down to a silicon fist, and you will all beg your binary gods for mercy’. Although this may be somewhat of a witticism, no one doubts that technological evolution plays a substantial role in everyday life. Just to name a few, the rise of social media, smartphones and tablets and the apps that are designed for them indeed creates new possibilities on an almost daily basis while simultaneously posing social, economic and political questions. At least as important are the legal issues related to this evolution.

With the changeover to the new millennium, and in the aftermath of the dot-com hype, a legal framework was created on European (and subsequently national) level in order to allow governments, civilians and undertakings to act within the virtual environment. Examples are the legislation on electronic commerce, electronic invoicing, e-privacy, e-money and electronic signatures. As it turned out that the proposed measures were soon outdated by new technological evolutions, the EU legislator was necessitated to frequently adapt the existing framework on a case-by-case basis, resulting in a patchy legal framework.

Recent technological evolutions and trends bring along new legal concerns that are not yet addressed and do not fit within the legal framework currently in force. The EU legislator tries to tackle some of these issues on an ad hoc basis, e.g. the recent legislative requirements on the use of cookies on computers or other devices, but a global policy did not exist until recently. As such, there was an element of truth in Gates’s quote as the EU legislator now seems to be huffing and puffing to catch up with and to regulate trends, often existing already for quite some time…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the DLA Piper briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from DLA Piper

View more briefings from DLA Piper

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer


3 Noble Street

Turnover (£m): 1,566.29
No. of lawyers: 3,961 (UK 200)
Jurisdiction: global
No. of offices: more than 75
No. of qualified lawyers: 542 (International 50)
No. of partners: 142.6