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This is the main conclusion reached at the Electronic Evidence Forum, a platform that held its first face-to-face meeting this yesterday morning in Madrid

Need for agreement between legal and it experts to create certainty in electronic transactions

06/15/2004

(15/06/04) The Electronic Evidence Forum presented yesterday in Madrid has argued the need for an agreement between Technology and Law to ensure legal certainty in electronic transactions, the exchange of documents, and the creation and marketing of content generated today in the Information Society. According to the Forum, the Internet is a technological medium that offers great opportunities but is not yet a secure environment legally or technically speaking.

The members of the platform include SAP, the General Council of the Spanish Notarial Profession, the legal publisher El Derecho, Adobe, Cybex, Banco Sabadell and the Spanish Society of Writers and Publishers (SGAE). It has been created with a view to becoming a permanent forum for jurists and IT experts to debate the consequences of using new technologies. “Without legal safeguards, there can be no freedom and without freedom democracy could not exist ,” said Antonio Garrigues, Chairman of the Forum, in the presence of 250 representatives from the legal, academic, business and technology worlds who turned up to the Forum’s first face-to-face meeting.

Two round-table debates were held at the meeting, tackling electronic evidence from the legal and economic and the technological standpoints, respectively. “The Information Society cannot exist without protection for content ,” assured Pedro Ferré, Head of SGAE’s Office for the Defense of Intellectual Property. Juan Bolás, Chairman of the General Council of the Spanish Notarial Profession placed stress on the concept of “legal certainty”, “what we yearn for is legal certainty in new technologies. This is the objective for which the Forum was set up.” For his part, José María Anguiano, a partner from Garrigues and one of the prime movers behind the Forum highlighted some of the problems posed by current legislation, “we have to ask ourselves whether current regulations prevent industrial property rights from being infringed. We believe that certain minimum standards of legal certainty in the electronic world must be achieved.”

It fell to the Director-General of Registries and of the Notarial Profession, Pilar Blanco-Morales, to bring the meeting to a close: “International agreements must be created to protect intellectual property rights and prevent the misuse of personal data which is taking place in the new Information Society .”

The speakers agreed on the need to free up more resources to create and apply the digital law of the future. In particular, they considered that the priority was to give the State security forces more resources and better training, to provide the institutions that ensure the soundness of legislation resources to face up to this new phase, and contribute to specialization among the judiciary so that it is not overwhelmed by this new situation.

The Forum’s conclusions will be passed on to the Spanish Justice Minister, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, in a letter that will set out the concerns of the industry, with a view to initiating a dialog where these matters can be addressed in depth and debated.

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