Conference series 2019/2020 : Industry 4.0

As every year, the Association Henri Capitant Cambodge organizes a series of conferences on current themes. The theme for 2019/2020 was therefore Industry 4.0.

On 31 October, the introductory conference-debate on the theme: “Industry 4.0: Issues and impacts of technological developments on society” was held at the Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE).  

Her Excellency, Mr Saroeun Peou, Vice-Rector of RULE, then Mr Prasnar Yi, President of the Association Henri Capitant Cambodia, introduced this conference by warmly thanking, on the one hand, the interest shown by each of the speakers at the invitation of Henri Capitant Cambodia and on the other hand, Her Excellency, Madam the French Ambassador who gave the honour of her presence.

This conference provided an opportunity to gain insight into industrial evolution and to discover, or better understand, Industry 4.0. Speakers focused on concepts related to industry 4.0, the “smart industry”, which has been the subject of many communications and articles in the international press in the recent months.

Indeed, Industry 4.0 is the first “Industrial Revolution” that is not an energy-based revolution; it is a purely intellectual revolution, based on mathematics. The concept of Industry 4.0, first presented at the Hanover Fair in 2011, is characterized by the convergence of the virtual world, digital design, management (operations, finance and marketing) with real-world products and objects. The main feature of this industry 4.0 is both decentralization and rationalization, while taking into account, in an unprecedented way, the problem of global warming, a major challenge of the 21st century.

Mr. Hisham Mousar, a member of HCC’s Scientific Council, has put forward ideas for managing this fourth industrial revolution. According to him, the State, while promoting this Industry 4.0, must not play a leading role. Thus, if the State knows how to manage continuity, the same cannot be said of the rupture that can be found in each new industrial era.

To survive, large companies must form, from now on, a federation of small companies that trade with each other and most of which also fail.

His Excellency So Sovannarith said that ASEAN will be the fourth largest economic region in the world by 2020, thanks to rapid urbanization and a 5% growth rate for the coming years (2020-2024). ASEAN can be a major player in this new, so-called “digital” economy if it continues its commitment to encourage digital training while guaranteeing access to reliable and affordable energy. This is the key to successful growth towards the digital economy of tomorrow’s society.

This Industry 4.0 also raises legal issues, particularly the protection of privacy and personal data. Dr. Rothna NGORN rightly pointed out that the collection of mass data through, in particular, social networks, e-commerce sites can generate a high risk of abuse of unauthorized collection, use, processing and transfer.  

As far as Cambodia is concerned, there is no specific law on the protection of such personal data, as there may be in Europe with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force in May 2018 and the Regulations on the Protection of Privacy and Electronic Communications, known as the ePrivacy Regulations, which will come into effect in 2020. According to the ePrivacy regulations, the data collected must always remain confidential and any interference with the communication of this data, whether directly by a human or by automated processes, without the user’s consent, is prohibited.

Within the Kingdom of Cambodia, the protection of privacy and personal data is governed by the general principle derived from the Constitution and the Cambodian Civil Code.

A draft regulation for the protection of such personal data is currently under way in ASEAN. The majority of countries in this region favour a comprehensive data law rather than various sectoral texts. Therefore, if the content would be closer to the European system than to the American one, nothing is yet certain.

As Dr. Rothna Ngorn rightly pointed out, while Industry 4.0 raises legal issues, it also facilitates the work of lawyers. One of these opportunities consists in the use of artificial intelligence by intellectual property offices, through prior art searches, copyright registration, patent and trademark examination in particular.

Also, His Excellency, Mr. Dim Sovannarom, spokesman of the National Electoral Commission, presented the interests of this digital economy on the election system in Cambodia and affirmed that it guarantees greater transparency.

In conclusion, His Excellency, Kan Chanmeta encouraged students to seize the opportunities offered by this Industry 4.0 by training themselves in these new tools now in order to adapt as best they can to the society of the future.  



Charlène Maimon