The legal institutes of international aviation and space law are experiencing dynamic changes, which are invariably influenced by technological advances. There are issues in the international public aviation law agenda related to development of standards and recommended practices for unmanned aerial vehicles, harmonizing international air safety rules regarding, inter alia, the liability of air traffic controllers in the context of increasing automation, aircraft sabotage and hijacking, unlawful seizure of aircrafts, civil unrest, and the not always east distinction between civil and state aircrafts. In addition, the current technological developments further challenge the established institutes of private international aviation law such as damage liability of carriers and other parties involved in the aircraft transportation of people or goods as per the Warsaw Convention from 1929, the Montreal Convention of 1999 and the Rome Convention of 1952, as well as the insurance risks changing under the conditions of technological autonomy.
In the field of international space law the increasing role of artificial satellites, the legal implications of save waste, the use of GPS and GNSS technologies for remote sensing and the provision of a wide range of everyday consumer services suffer from the continuing impact of technological progress. In February 2017, the State Secretary for Transport presented the first draft law on space flights before the UK Parliament. Thus, the “exotic” the space transport, which was until recently considered an exotic hypothesis, is now in the eye of not only academic community but also the legislators.
The international nature of aviation and space law has motivated LIBRe Foundation to work towards bridging the gap between “global” technologies and the “global” transport not only of today but also of the future. Our work aims to contribute to a constructive dialogue between aviation and space law professionals on the challenges that new technologies pose in the field. One of our first initiatives includes a comparative legal study on the safe integration of unmanned aerial vehicles in airspace. In addition, the Foundation contributes advancing these issues by participating in working groups and public discussions, issuing expert opinions on related draft legislation, and cooperating with competent authorities.
Being the most common means for transporting people and goods, road transport continues to be the source of the most serious societal, environmental and economic issues in the transport sector. This is also one of the main reasons why road transport has become the sectoral leader in deploying intelligent systems to successfully achieve a higher level of safety, environmental compliance and transport efficiency.
One of the most clearly noticeable trends in this direction is the embedding of sensors and microprocessors in automobiles by car manufacturers, which enables cars to communicate with each other and with separate components of the road infrastructure. The implementation of RFID chips, the use of algorithms recognizing video cameras, electronic toll systems, remote sensing and automatic emergency call number for road incidents (eCall) are just some of the innovative technological solutions that underlie the modern road transport management and control policies.
The widespread use of intelligent transport systems in the automobile sector will undoubtedly lead to the collection and processing of large volumes of personal data. Designed to be unnoticeable, ubiquitous and constantly monitoring their surrounding in real time, the intelligent transport systems have to be initially designed in compliance with the ethical and legal requirements for protection of the citizens’ privacy and personal data. A few of the mandatory measures to be taken into account under the General Data Protection Regulation and Directive 2010/40/EU on the framework for the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems in the field of road transport are the the principle of minimizing the collected and processed personal data, the anonymization techniques, the use of cryptographic mechanisms, etc.
On the other hand, the large amount of data on the basis of which these systems operate require the construction of data processing centres which must implement technological and organizational measures ensuring the necessary level of protection against in-house misuse of information, malicious actions by third parties, loss or leak of information, etc.; since the integrity and security levels of this information determine not only the compliance with the fundamental rights of the data subjects, but also their physical safety during road travels.
Through its expertise, LIBRe Foundation can successfully contribute towards identifying the typical sectoral risks and participate in the development of policies, applications and internal rules by which the intelligent transport systems comply with the legal provisions regarding personal data protection and, at the same time, achieve a sufficient level of information security and readiness to effectively deal with emergencies.
Railway transport remains one of the most energy-efficient and cost-effective means of transporting people and goods, which makes it one of the key components towards a multimodal and interoperable trans-European transport (TEN-T) to drive the European economy and competitiveness boost as perceived by the Union at present days.
On a global level, the modernisation of railway transport includes the automatization of all functional processes in the sector through the development of integrated information systems, databases and telematics applications for passenger services. These technological solutions enable activities such as real-time monitoring of goods and passengers, online booking and payment, automatic electronic ticketing, online luggage management, provision of accurate travel information for multimodal transport services, etc. At the same time, one of the main challenges facing the effective transformation of the railroad sector is the insufficient interoperability level between the national information systems. The successful development of multi-state multimodal trans-European transport will depend heavily on addressing this issue. The technical complexity of telematics applications and smart systems will also require adequate digital skills among citizens to allow them to take advantage of the full potential of the intelligent transport systems.
LIBRe Foundation is willing to participate in the design, development and management of information systems in the railway sector by helping developers and users of innovative solutions to identify the economic, practical and societal value of the data they possess, in order to optimize their use, tackle the informational overload, and avoid risks for citizens’ fundamental rights. Further on, LIBRe Foundation’s experts have the necessary skills and knowledge to guarantee the successful deployment of smart railroad solutions, including by organizing educational campaigns and awareness raising initiatives to increase the digital skills’ levels and to encourage citizens to use innovative transport services in their everyday life.
In the context of globalization and increasing urban migration, the modern cities face a number of challenges, including: unsustainable energy consumption and the negative ecological impact, deteriorating quality of air and drinking water, and, above all, ineffective reconciliation of transport services and urban infrastructure to the growing needs of citizens and businesses. Therefore, the integration of information and communication technologies in the urban environment and public life, known as “smart cities”, is not just another modern technological trend but a necessary next step towards finding a sustainable, safe and integrated way of coexistence.
The efficiency of transport systems and traffic management have always been key issues of every modern city. Embedding information and communication technologies into the urban infrastructure (car parks, traffic lights, means of public transportation, etc.) allows for a more efficient management of transport systems and infrastructure and for better and informed citizens. “Opening” this data to citizens by creating user-friendly and accessible applications and providing related electronic administrative services are just some of the issues in which LIBRe Foundation can take an active part by identifying and implementing existing legal, standardization or ethical requirements in the field of e-Governance and the re-use of public sector information.