International technology law community celebrates IFCLA’s 35th Anniversary in Helsinki under the theme “Sustainability, legal compliance and digital transformation”.
IFCLA, the International Federation of Computer Law Associations, was founded in December 1986 by the Belgian, French and Dutch IT Law Associations in order to promote international collaboration and exchange of knowledge in “computer law”, which, at that time, was still a new field of law. IFCLA is the rooftop organization of local IT and technology law associations across the world, including the Finnish IT Law Association. Today, IFCLA has expanded its global reach and covers Europe, including also the Nordic countries and the UK as well as Australia, Brazil and Canada. Current expansion plans include establishing a close cooperation with FIADI, the “sister” federation that covers South America’s main countries.
IFCLA’s main purpose is to arrange bi-annual international conferences in cities where its local member associations reside. Interesting events have been held within computer, IT and technology law (as the field of law develops along digital transformation) several times since the 80’s in, for example, the local association’s home cities Amsterdam, Munich, Stockholm, Brussels, Oslo, Paris, London and Barcelona. The latest, scheduled for 2020, had to be postponed because of the pandemic and then subsequently fully adjusted and rescheduled to be held in late September 2021, online, from Barcelona. Now, after 12 years since the last international IFCLA conference arranged here, it is again time to return to Helsinki “It will be for the first time in IFCLA’s history that the federation holds two conferences in less than nine months, both of them with significant attendance. This has meant a great effort for the IFCLA conference committee” says Belén Arribas, IFCLA President.
IFLCA 2022 Helsinki Conference is centered around the topical themes of “Sustainability, legal compliance and digital transformation” and takes place at the traditional Kämp Hotel in the very center of Helsinki on June 16th–17th. “It was not a self-evident choice to arrange a full-scale physical conference“, says Anna Haapanen, Vice President at IFCLA and Partner, Head of Technology at Dittmar & Indrenius. Not only the lingering pandemic, but also the changed European security situation has created uncertainty, as the international legal community was hesitating whether to travel due to covid and also the emerging geopolitical tensions. Now, however, the conference is just around the corner and while the latest IFCLA event was held due to covid as online conference aired from Barcelona, this time the event is arranged physically at Kämp, allowing also full hybrid for remote attendees.
This June, right before the Scandinavian midsummer, we look forward to welcoming around one hundred IT, data and technology lawyers in Helsinki, representing several continents and countries as we have speakers from all around Europe, Americas/Canada, Australia, India, South-Africa and even Ukraine, who discuss the most topical questions concerning technology law from the sustainability and compliance angle, be it related to key legal issues in 2022 by the “World Panel”, data markets and digital ecosystems, health tech, safety related software, sustainable use of data, AI & ethics, cyber resilience, smart cities, environmental technology or block chain and non-fungible tokens. The conference is a joint effort by IFCLA conference committee, which includes also several board members of the local Finnish IT Law Association. The Finnish IT Law Association and local IT & technology focused law firms Borenius, Castrén & Snellman, Dittmar & Indrenius, DLA Piper, Hannes Snellman, Krogerus and Roschier support the event as Gold Sponsors together with UK law firm Bates Wells and Huawei. The sponsor set-up has enabled continuing the preparations despite all the uncertainties and was thus a brilliant idea.
Managing the event as to contents, set-up, communications and budget, while transitioning from parental leave back to full-time work as a law firm partner, has been challenging yet rewarding for the local host. “Since finishing my term as Chairperson of the Finnish IT Law Association and stepping up to IFCLA board in 2014 and onwards to President of IFCLA in 2018 (and upon the arrival of my baby boy, Vice President as of 2021) it has been a self-evident goal to arrange the event in Helsinki one day“, says Anna Haapanen. “The feel of belonging to the international community of technology lawyers has been a carrying force throughout my career, especially at its cross roads”, says Anna Haapanen.
The local IT Law Association’s contribution to this event, along the whole IFCLA conference committee, has been crucial” says Anna. Anni-Maria Taka, a board member of the Finnish IT Law Association and Anna’s team member at D&I agrees: “It has been a true pleasure cooperating with IFCLA on a weekly basis to organize the conference. This close collaboration between IFCLA and our Finnish IT Law Association has further strengthened valuable international relations between experts involved in promoting sustainability and digitalization,” says Anni-Maria Taka. This is the true purpose of IFCLA, which has always attracted to its conferences a consistent number of international delegates, and thus fulfilled its first and most important objective of providing the international technology lawyers’ community the opportunity to learn and benefit from an international exchange of ideas and opinions.