Unveiling Bias in Law-Making: Governance of Digital Practices co-hosted the Conference Young Digital Law 2023



Elisabeth Steindl |

The 3rd Conference of the Research Network Young Digital Law, held at the University of Vienna, focused on the theme of “Bias in Law-Making: How Assumptions about Technology, Trustworthiness, and Human Agency Underpin European Digital Law.” As a co-host of the conference, the Research Platform ‘Governance of Digital Practices’ played a crucial role in shaping the event and contributing to the discussions. Members of the Research Platform, including keynote speakers, workshop facilitators, moderators and members of the organising team, engaged in various formats, provided valuable insights on key topics and added interdisciplinary aspects to the conference.


The timely and important topic brought together experts, academics, and stakeholders to explore the complexities of bias in law-making in the digital age. Throughout the conference, speakers and panellists explored the various ways in which assumptions about technology, trustworthiness, and human agency can influence the development and application of digital law in Europe. In addition to many fascinating individual presentations, the conference also featured a number of interactive panel discussions and workshops, which allowed attendees to engage with speakers and other experts in a more informal setting.


Nikolaus Forgó led the presentations with a keynote questioning ‘What is Young in Young Digital Law?’. Nikolaus’ keynote provided a comprehensive historical perspective to the field of digital law and addressed the risks and opportunities that arise from the rapid development of both digital technologies and digital law. His presentation on the evolving nature of digital technology and the challenges for digital law to keep pace with technological advancements without hindering innovation and being an impediment to Europe’s role in the digital world and the digital age set the stage for many of the further discussions during the conference.

Connor Hogan conducted a workshop on ‘Data Solidarity and Public Value’. The workshop centred on data solidarity and its significance in digital law-making. Recognizing the increasing presence of data in our daily lives, Connor highlighted the importance of prioritizing societal value when considering data use. The workshop provided attendees with practical insights into implementing the data solidarity framework, emphasizing the collective responsibility of ensuring fairness and preventing harm in data practices. By incorporating these principles into digital law, policymakers can create a more equitable and accountable digital ecosystem.

Katja Mayer and Žiga Škorjanc hosted a public round table on ‘Open Science: Legal Framework and Practical Challenges in the Digital Age’ in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. The public round table focused on the transformative potential of Open Science in enhancing research quality, transparency, and inclusivity. The round table provided stakeholders with a platform to discuss legal challenges and opportunities associated with Open Science and stressed the role of Open Science in creating an ethical, legal, and secure environment for research.

Barbara Prainsack gave a keynote presentation on ‘The Bias of Bias: The Political Economy of Digital Practices’. Drawing upon Connor’s workshop, Barbara’s presentation elaborated the concepts of data solidarity and public value. Moreover, she provided insights about the recent ‘Opinion on Democracy in the Digital Age’ by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) and pointed out the challenges faced by democracy due to populist and autocratic shifts. Her keynote emphasized the importance of addressing these challenges while fostering democratic values. The EGE Opinion can be found here.

Theresa Henne and Elisabeth Steindl played vital roles as conference moderators and members of the organizing team of the conference. Their efforts in preparing and coordinating the event over the last academic year were essential in creating a platform for meaningful discussions and knowledge exchange and ensured the successful execution of the conference.

Overall, the 3rd Conference on Young Digital Law was a valuable and thought-provoking event that provided a forum for legal experts and academics across disciplines to exchange ideas and discuss the latest developments and challenges. It was a great opportunity for attendees to present and discuss their own research, to learn from some of the leading figures in the field and to stay up-to-date with the latest thinking in this rapidly evolving area.


The extended programme can be found here.

For more information about the conference visit the YDL2023 website: