Technological Neutrality of the Law: Efficacy, Limits, and Anticipatory Mechanisms


Legislators often try to make laws as technology-neutral as possible, for example by phrasing legal provisions in functional and abstract terms. The aim of technological neutrality of the law is that the effectiveness of the law does not depend on the technologies used by the addressees of the law. For example, the protection mechanisms of European data protection law should be just as effective for data processing in paper registers as in large online databases.

In his cumulative doctoral dissertation, Thomas Buocz uses three concrete case studies to investigate how effective technology-neutral regulations really are, where the conceptual limits of technology neutrality lie, and what legal mechanisms exist to recognise in time technological developments that push technology-neutral provisions to their limits.

Thomas Buocz is a member of the Horizon2020 project SCALINGS. He is conducting his doctoral studies at the Institute of Law at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. Thomas Buocz received a Marietta Blau Grant from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) to optimize his dissertation at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, in winter term 2019/2020.

At CIHG he is Head of Co-Creative Tech Regulation.