14 Mar A unified framework for emerging technologies in Greece
Author: Spiros Tassis
Greek Law 4961/2022 entitled “Emerging IT and communications technologies, strengthening digital governance and other provisions” was published in the Government Gazette (Government Gazette A’/146/27-07-2022) and creates one of the first unified frameworks on emerging technologies within the EU. The Law attempts to address the possible impact the emerging technologies may have in our everyday life and especially our fundamental human rights.
The Law’s structure
The Law is structured in three main chapters, each one regulating specific technologies, while a fourth chapter (articles 102 et seq.) introduces provisions of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs:
- The first part (articles 1 to 27) sets a target for the digital upgrading of the public administration and aims to create the appropriate institutional background for the legitimate and safe utilization of the potential of artificial intelligence (by public and private sector) and to strengthen the resilience of the public administration against to cyber threats. It is worth noted that the Law does not step into the scope of regulation of the EU AI Act, thus no definition of AI is attempted and an obligation for Ethical Data Use Policy is introduced, so each organization may carefully plan and control the use of the personal data it controls and process. The provisions relating to the use of AI systems will enter into force on January 1, 2023.
- The second part (articles 28 et seq.) concerns the utilization of advanced technologies. These provisions attempt to make rational use of the possibilities provided by the technologies of the Internet of Things (IoT), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the distributed ledger and the 3D printing in the context of exercising the responsibilities of public sector bodies and in operating framework of the private market, with the goal of consolidating the digital transformation of the country.
- The third part (articles 58 et seq.) provides for a national policy of administrative procedures and a national program for the simplification of procedures (E.P.A.D.), as well as other provisions to strengthen digital governance. The purpose of these provisions is to enrich the actions that are included in the EPAD, the creation of a National Administrative Procedures Policy (E.P.D.D.) and the further strengthening of the digital transformation of the country by ensuring the necessary organizational flexibility of the structures of the Ministry of Digital Governance and its supervised entities, as well as the institutionalization of new digital services.
The purposes of the law
The Minister of Digital Governance in his speech in Parliament introducing the new Law made a reference to the Collingridge’s dilemma to address the argument of why a small country like Greece, decides to proactively regulate these technologies: “During the initial stages of a new technology, legislation is difficult as there is insufficient knowledge/information/awareness of the issues. When the unwanted effects of the technology emerge, it has penetrated so much into life and the economy that any attempt at regulatory control is met with backlash from the people who develop it, the investors and the users themselves”.
According to its Explanatory Memorandum, some of the main objectives of the Law are:
- The implementation of a comprehensive national strategy for the development of artificial intelligence in Greece, which is based on modern technological developments in the field in question.
- The strengthening of the resilience of the state and its critical infrastructures in cyber threats and achieving a high level of cyber security in the country through the formulation of an integrated strategy of dealing with cyberattacks, as reflected in the National Cybersecurity Strategy 2020-2025.
- Ensuring a high level of security of the information that is circulated through IT devices, especially when these devices interact with humans either directly or indirectly. This objective takes on great importance due to the growing number of cyber-attacks or threats of cyber-attacks against the country’s critical infrastructures, which intensify in times of international crises.
- The use of radio spectrum frequencies to upgrade the postal service provision framework.
- The legislative clarification of the basic terms and concepts that appear in the 3D printing process, the strengthening of transaction security and the securing of the confidence of traders regarding intellectual and other rights per phase of 3D printing from the creation of the digital model to the creation of the printed physical object.
- The simplification of individual administrative procedures, the provision of upgraded services by electronic means and the adoption of best administrative practices for standardization and transparency of public administration procedures through a modernized National Register of Procedures.