E. Dobrovolska: Regulation of digital content inheritance is an EU-wide topic 


2021 08 06


On 15 and 16 July, Minister of Justice Evelina Dobrovolska attended the informal meeting of EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Brdo, Slovenia. The meeting will further discuss issues such as the legal regulation of digitalisation and artificial intelligence, the inheritance of digital content and better enforcement of children's rights. 

At the EU ministers' meeting, E. Dobrovolska stressed that EU Member States should pay close attention to discussing the opportunities and challenges of applying artificial intelligence systems in the field of justice, particularly in the judiciary. 

"With the rapid development of digitalisation, we need to find effective solutions to ensure that artificial intelligence systems do not violate human rights, for example by preventing the use of biometric data to categorise individuals based on ethnicity, gender, political or sexual orientation or other discriminatory criteria. Therefore, the legal framework must ensure that fundamental human rights are respected and guaranteed during identification procedures, eliminating all possible ethical, social and legal risks", emphasises E. Dobrovolska.  

The Minister said that it is essential to listen to the opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Data Protection Board, which will help to find solutions for the development of artificial intelligence systems that are safe and serve the human being. An EU-wide network of experts could also be useful for exchanging information and best practice in this area.  

E. Dobrovolska also identified the legal regulation of digital inheritance as a priority on the justice agenda.  

According to E. Dobrovolska, there is no specific legal regulation in Lithuania on the inheritance of digital content, e.g. computer programs, applications (apps), music files or games, and the existing legal practice is very weak. 

"The topic of digital content inheritance is becoming increasingly relevant across the EU. In Lithuania, in the case of digital inheritance, the notary has to determine whether the digital content can be inherited and whether it belonged to the deceased. Establishing the ownership of the subject of the inheritance often poses difficulties for the exercise of the rights of the inheritor. It is important to ensure cross-border regulation of this issue, and a constructive dialogue between all EU countries in this area will help achieve progressive solutions," says E. Dobrovolska.    

EU ministers also focused on effective protection of children's rights.  

According to E. Dobrovolska, research shows that currently only one in four children in the EU believes that their rights are respected, which is why joint EU initiatives are needed to ensure that all children, especially the more vulnerable, know and are guaranteed their rights.  

The Minister pointed out that Lithuanian practice shows that the main challenges are not only the lack of information about children's rights, but also the lack of advocates and competent psychologists specialised in working with minors.  

"The lack of protection of children's rights in legal proceedings is not due to a lack of legislation or inadequate content, but due to the challenges of practical implementation of its provisions, which is why it is important to share at EU level best practices between Member States, making use of the possibilities offered by the European Judicial Networks. As part of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, we should also promote the training of justice professionals, the development of alternative dispute resolution, and a comprehensive 

analysis of instruments in this area at EU level," emphasises E. Dobrovolska.  EU ministers discussed how the EU can help Member States to develop and strengthen the protection of the rights of the child at national level, as well as a common EU approach and actions at EU level. The concept of a Barnahus type children's home was discussed, which foresees that children involved in court proceedings would be accommodated in a Barnahus type home for the purpose of interviewing them. 

E. Dobrovolska said that Lithuania supports the concept of a Barnabus type orphanage, but believes that it should be flexible and adapted to the specificities of the national legal system.  

In Lithuania, this model, which has been in place since 2016, is exclusively for children who have been sexually abused.  

After a long break, this informal meeting of EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers was organised live.