FICL supports webinar on rule of law

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The Federation of Indian Corporate Lawyers (FICL) has supported a global webinar marathon of 24 hours organised by the American Bar Association – International Law Section (ABA ILS) with the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) on corporate social responsibility and the rule of law.

Deepak Acharaya, a member of the FICL’s national advisory council and GC with India-based multinational IT company Wipro in Bengaluru, was a speaker at the event on 5 May. The FICL’s patron, Lalit Bhasin, who is also president of the SILF in New Delhi, was the moderator.

Acharaya spoke on corporate digital responsibility, outlining a set of responsibilities that an organisation should consider in utilising digital tech to benefit society. For example, big tech companies must employ ethical practices with setting their algorithms that run on artificial intelligence-based programs.

“We have seen several examples where human biases in algorithms can lead to discrimination,” said Acharaya. “Similarly, there are several challenges encountered by a technology company in using face recognition and crime detection. We saw a case where an error on the face recognition program was the cause for a wrong person going to jail for a crime that he never committed. These are serious human rights issues.”

Acharaya also referred to surveillance technology in the US that has stirred controversy due to false arrest cases. He also pointed to a data breach that had leaked valuable information, underlining that businesses must ensure the protection of privacy and personal information as a very important aspect of human rights.

Among other speakers were Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge, Madan Lokur, in New Delhi, and prominent lawyers from Indian law firms, including: V Lakshmikumaran, the founder and managing partner of Lakshmikumaran and Sridharan in New Delhi; Aarthi Sivanandh, a partner at J Sagar Associates in Chennai; and Gowree Gokhale, the leader of IP and technology and media practices at Nishith Desai Associates in Mumbai.

The webinar marathon, or “webathon”, presented a continuous series of two-hour panels spanning continents and time zones. Each panel addressed a different aspect of the challenges faced by the rule of law, and was hosted by a leading bar or international law association. The webathon hosted by the SILF discussed the changing perspectives in recognising human rights as essential components of a good and fair business environment.

The FICL is a not-for-profit organisation providing a national forum for exchange of information, experience and knowledge within the Indian corporate legal community, and to enhance recognition of corporate lawyers in the broader business and legal community. Since its inception in May 2020, the federation has partnered with the SILF, the Asia-Pacific Corporate Counsel Alliance (APCCA) and the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA) in their online programmes.