Constitutionally Right: the case for personal care robots

The diffusion of robotic applications in healthcare exposes a public-private discord, where private entities have an important role in safeguarding public values. The research adopts a socio-techno-legal approach to address the discord by investigating the possibilities and limitations of embedding values into the algorithmic design of healthcare robots. Initially, the research investigates the state of the art for robots used in healthcare and maps the legal and social disruption that the technology is causes. Then, it delves into the concept of fundamental rights as values and how this technology interacts with and impacts them. Moreover, the research investigates how abstract concepts like fundamental rights can be operationalized in order to be computable and reveals limitations thereof. Finally, the research offers a framework for computing fundamental rights into the algorithmic design of robots used in healthcare practices.

New Populism, Non-State Actors and Public Values

Using empirical examples from Poland this paper argues that contrary to authoritarianism, the populist state does not monopolize the possibility of defining public values but shares this competence with non-public actors. The populist power selects those actors who share its general normative orientation (e. g. conservative worldview) and then gives such actors part of its competence in defining values that should be protected. However, such definitions become part of the public sphere only when they are translated into judicial practice. Until then, they are only political definitions that can be neutralized by the judiciary. Opposition by other actors (business, NGOs and international courts) play an important role in such counteraction.

Civil Society defining Public Values? New methods of participation in Public Dialogue

During the last few decades, social movements and active citizens have been the driving force behind many changes in legislation and governance. In this view, governments and international organizations are taking up initiatives to integrate citizens’ opinion in decision-making procedures. Participation is, thus, gaining a new momentum as a principle of constitutional value that may complement representative democracy.
This paper explores new methods through which civil society organizations and individuals can take part in public deliberations. Employing recent examples from the practice of European Union and its Member States, the paper focuses on the expectations of enabling active individuals share private views while defining public interest and on the way these (formal or informal) deliberations go hand in hand with the traditional law-making process. Furthermore, it investigates the possible outcome of these instruments for the institutional design and the future of public law.

Corporate Power and Public Values: Regulating Global Value Chain Capitalism

This paper discusses the regulatory pattern of delegating law-making power to private corporate actors, while attempting to reassert public authority through a quest for ‘embeddedness’ – an incorporation of public values within private actors themselves. The paper will examine new forms of regulation within Global Value Chains that attempt to harness the potential of the social sphere to impose sanctions on corporate misconduct. The role of the law becomes to facilitate the permeability of private institutional structures to the pressures of the market and civil society. This mutation of the function of law reifies the asymmetries of social power in legal arrangements and it weakens the role of democratic politics as the principle of social ordering. At the same time, such new forms of market regulation do not challenge the structural inequalities encased in the original institutional setup of public and private legal infrastructure and thus fail to reconstitute market dynamics.

‘Data-opolies’, Public Interests and EU Competition Law: current state of affairs and the way forward

While private actors can have an important role on the safeguarding of public interests, they can also have negative effects on their attainment. With the arising of big-tech firms and their platforms, the market seems to have gained powers that were previously placed on the state. Specifically, the so-labelled ‘data-opolies’ have a big impact on public interest concerns (privacy, influence on the democratic process, etc.).
This paper analyses the current state of affairs regarding the role of EU competition law in protecting such public interest concerns. While EU competition law is concerned with the negative effects of market power, it is focused on economic efficiency and generally disregards non-economic interests. The debate on whether EU competition law can have a role on the protection of non-economic interests threatened by the power of big-tech companies is a heated discussion. This paper discusses the latest advances in the EU in this regard and the way forward.