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Are tech giants responsible for their actions along Global Value Chains (GVC) down to the ‘Global South’? The responsibilities of private actors, companies evolving in the algorithmic society do not mean there is no responsibility for national states. Stressing private responsibilities below the surface of the constitution directs the attention to the bulk of national, European and international rules that are and that have been developed in the last decades and that in one way or the other are dealing with responsibility or perhaps even better responsibilities of private and public actors. From the discussions on ‘double standards’ to the recent Recommendation of the European Parliament, it is not only the behavior of companies but of their commercial partners along the GVC are at the heart of the debate. From the 1970s sector-specific or product-specific rules were adopted. Today, it is a holistic approach reflecting the globalization of supply chains that are needed. Recent initiatives on the due diligence of large companies seem to go in this direction. Many of the puzzling aspects are discussed in this chapter.
Technologies have always challenged, if not disrupted, the social, economic legal, and to an extent, the ideological status quo. Such transformations impact constitutional law, as the State formulates its legal response to the new technologies being developed and applied by the market, and as it considers its own use of the technologies. The development of data collection, mining, and algorithmic analysis, resulting in predictive profiling – with or without the subsequent potential manipulation of attitudes and behaviors of users – presents unique challenges to constitutional law at the doctrinal as well as theoretical levels.
New technologies have always challenged the social, economic, legal, and ideological status quo. Constitutional law is no less impacted by such technologically driven transformations, as the state must formulate a legal response to new technologies and their market applications, as well as the state's own use of new technology. In particular, the development of data collection, data mining, and algorithmic analysis by public and private actors present unique challenges to public law at the doctrinal as well as the theoretical level. This collection, aimed at legal scholars and practitioners, describes the constitutional challenges created by the algorithmic society. It offers an important synthesis of the state of play in law and technology studies, addressing the challenges for fundamental rights and democracy, the role of policy and regulation, and the responsibilities of private actors. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Private law goes back to Roman law. Its codification in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries gave private law a public foundation. However, from the very moment of codification onwards, there was and there still is a tension between the civil codes and parliamentary legislative powers. Overall and until today, parliaments do not so easily interfere in national codifications. There is a certain reluctance throughout all countries with a codification and parliaments tend to rely first on the courts to find appropriate solutions for changing economic and political circumstances.
On 16 February 2017 the European Court of Justice had to decide the preliminary reference of Elisabeth Schmitt against TÜV Rheinland (Box 15.1). Thousands of women around the world were affected by substandard breast implants. The women brought actions to courts in France, Germany and elsewhere. E. Schmitt’s case is paradigmatic for how courts are struggling to apply tort law to this multifaceted constellation. This case serves as a starter for a discussion of the transformation of liability in the changing economic and political environment.
This chapter concerns the significance of the ordo-liberal economic constitution for the construction of the European Economic Community, the European Community and, today, of the European Union. In this context, the concept of multilevel governance and the economic constitution are interlocked. The founders of ordo-liberalism conceived of the ordo-liberal model in the context of a national economy – this constitutes the prime theme of Chapter 6 as far as it discusses Franz Böhm’s concept of a private law society – and not for a multinational community of states or for any kind of a transnational economic order.
European integration is now seventy years old and is about to turn into a historical research project of its own. It rests on the premise that the nation states share a common heritage, as well as intellectual, economic, political and philosophical foundations which hold the European legal system together. Law and integration through law are the means to realize the ambitious project (Chapter 24). The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is regarded as the motor of integration. The European Single Act advocated the building of an internal market, no longer through the four market freedoms and competition law alone, but most prominently through secondary EU law.
This chapter addresses one of the most prominent developments in private law in the twentieth century, the introduction of status-related rights, where status is connected to a higher degree of protection in law than the ‘normal’ person receives. The European Union is playing a prominent role in this development, in the field of non-discrimination (Chapter 14), but also in the field of consumer law. The difficult question is the decision on what a consumer is and when and under what conditions they may enjoy a higher degree of protection.