In Medias Res

A journal on press freedom and the rules of the public sphere

Archive

2020/2


Papers

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on cybercrime

Author: László Dornfeld

The coronavirus, which became a global pandemic in the spring of 2020, and the state measures taken in response have significantly altered the functioning of the society. This change has also affected crime: As online presence has become the new norm instead of personal interactions, the number of offline crimes has fallen and that of the online ones increased. As millions of people began to perform their routine activities online, so did criminals have taken advantage of the opportunities this new development offered. The study focuses on this significant change, analysing the different types of crime involved, such as online fraud and child pornography, and also highlights the issue of fake news, as not only public actors but criminals also have an interest in it, profiting from others’ fear. In this study, I am looking for the answer as to what new trends have emerged as a result of the epidemic, and what responses have been made to them. Criticism for these provisions I will also present. Studying the issue is particularly important because, as it stands, the epidemic will remain with us for years to come, so the increased online presence will not decrease in the future and may never return to its pre-epidemic level.


Information asymmetry growing hugein the light of the COVID-19

Author: Katalin Fülöp

Information is a product in economics, resource for someones, finished good for others, with its price, costs, demand, supply and market. There are sectors, e.g. in the pharmaceutical industry, where it is the key input, but essentially all actors in the economy need to acquire certain units of it, because no economic activity — consumption, savings, employment, levying or paying taxes — can be carried out effectively without it. Information asymmetry is a wellknown phenomenon in economics. It can occur in any market where the buyer and the seller have different levels of information which generates significant additional costs and risks, as well as hinders rational decision-making. The phenomenon must be taken into account when transactions are also complicated by a principal–agent relationship. The topic of the writing is how the epidemic situation amplifies the negative effects of information asymmetry in the information market. Firstly, I describe the market role of information, then the explanation and consequences of information asymmetry are outlined. The following sections deal with the news market and the special decision situation caused by the epidemic. One of the conclusions of the writing is that the consumer is not always able to properly optimize consumption, and his overconsumption does not improve but worsens the quality of his decisions. This phenomenon has been intensified by the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another conclusion is that several negative externalities are caused in the news market by the behaviour of the providers and contributors. Therefore, internalization can be the solution.


Information technology of lawyers during the stateof emergency for epidemiological reasons

Author: Péter Homoki

The period from 11 March 2020 to 17 June 2020 significantly affected the work of all participants in the field of justice, including that of the lawyers. In the first phase, an extraordinary court vacation was ordered for nearly 15 days. After that, personal presence at all kinds of procedural acts was still to be avoided whenever possible, receiving customers is person was still suspended, and such procedural acts took place only in exceptional cases. In the study, we examine from basically a technical or administrative perspective, how these constraints affected the day-to-day work of lawyers, and how lawyers were able to fulfill their role in the field of justice. Based on the results of a survey of lawyers, we also show which are the areas where mandatory social distancing has made the day-to-day work of a lawyer the most difficult (including difficulties in serving clients). We also highlight where the weak spots of the information technology capabilities of lawyers seem to be, and, from the point of view of lawyers, which are the areas of state services where further developments are justified.


Lawtech, V4 and Pandemic – Do lawtech solutions have a role in V4?

Author: Gábor Hulkó

The paper deals with the implementation of lawtech and its selected regulatory issues, with the aim of outlining application practices, certain legal institutions and possible future directions of these technologies by presenting models, solutions and examples, and whether the use of these technologies has been influenced to some extent by the coronavirus epidemic. The study is limited to the systems of Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland.


Trial Publicity during the State of Emergency

Authors: György Ignácz – Anna Madarasi

Due to the coronavirus an extraordinary court pause was ordered in March 2020. The courts were re-opened two weeks later and one of the main purpose of court leaders was to reduce the possibility of infection having as less people in the court buildings as possible. This aim was intended to obtain through the exclusion of the public from the court trials. In the present paper we examined how the introduced regulations of court buildings corresponded with the human right and constitutional requirements of the right to a fair trial and how they fit into the system of the norms of the extraordinary legal order introduced in the state of emergency due to the coronavirus. Our conclusion is that the measures issued by the government during the extraordinary legal order did not allow any diversion from the procedural principle of public trial, but the administrative measures taken by the court leaders practically abolished the publicity of the trials. The recent modification of the court buildings regulation due to the second wave of the coronavirus, doesn’t stop the public to access court trials, but the present rules raise the removal of an important content of publicity, the anonymity of the public, who embodies the social control over the court proceedings.


Press rules during the specific legal order – World War I special press order in the light of the foreign and domestic rules and practices

Author: Roland Kelemen

Thanks to the technical achievements of the nineteenth century, revolutionary changes have taken place in the field of information. The telegraph and the telephone made the almost real-time information possible. The transformation of printing devices made it possible to produce publications in higher volumes. The appetite of the society for information has resulted in millions of pages. The press has become an industry of mass media and influence. In the second half of the century, warfare also underwent at least such a significant transformation. The wars of the second half of the century projected million-man armies and the horror of unprecedented destruction. Thus, from the turn of the century, almost all of the great powers of Europe have been prepared for a war that would last until the complete exhaustion, the total destruction of the enemy, using up the hinterland as well. During the preparation, the control and influence of the press was outlined almost everywhere within the framework of the specific legal order outlined by the rule of law. This paper presents the legal instruments and their World War I usage from the perspective of the warring parties (the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United States, France, Germany and both states of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy).


How to go on with court digitization – or how did electronic communication become the for courts during the pandemic?

Author: Szabolcs Kékedi

During the pandemic, electronic communication and the opportunities which are provided by electronic channels became more embraced by the Hungarian courts. Electronic communication, however requires a vision, which covers the whole judicial system. In a few years ago, during the codification of the new procedural laws, the rules for electronic communication has been built on the rules of the general e-administration law, but the paper-based communication continued to be the default, and compared to that, electronic communication has been codified as an additional channel.
Transitional arrangements, which were taken in the emergency phase, allowed the primary use of electronic communication technologies in all procedural law, particularly e-conference technologies. The operation of the courts was uninterrupted during the pandemic. Parties went on with their sub­missions electronically. New ways has been introduced, which enabled clients to access their documents electronically.
The transitional rules, which were taken during the pandemic, proved that the technology of electronic communication can be successfully used in court proceedings as a part of normal practice.


On the constitutionality of the sanctioning of scaremongering

Author: András Koltay

Scaremongering is restrained by criminal law as a limitation to freedom of speech in Hungarian law. Without relevant case law, free speech commentators had rarely discussed the provision until the government’s actions taken in order to step up against the Covid-19 pandemic, and the following amendment of the Criminal Code in Spring 2020 brought the subject back into the field of public debates. The article analyses the constitutional issues related to the limitation of scaremongering, and takes the two constitutional court decisions in this subject as guideline.


The pandemic, the legal sphere, and the technology – How legal systems got through the pandemic,what role did technology play in the process, and will these changes prove durable?

Author: Zsolt Ződi

The paper attempts to show what kind of role has technology played, and still plays in the time of pandemic within the legal sector. First it shows the three eras of legal informatics: the office automatisation period, the online period and the artificial intelligence period. It argues that the pandemic is speeding up the closure of the second period, and helps to step into the third one. The second part of the paper is demonstrating the functioning of the technologies that are helping to survive the pandemic in the legal sphere: the online authentication tools, the audio and video systems and the online dispute resolution systems. The latter demonstrates already the third wave of legal technologies. There are some conclusions and recommendations at the end of the paper.