In recent years, there has been a rapid proliferation of a diverse range of information communication technologies, such as online social networking sites, cloud computing technologies, and, messaging applications. Hardly a day goes by without a new information communication technology being rolled out. As the world of Snapchat, Amazon Web Services, and the likes become firmly entrenched in modern society, new questions are being raised by regulators, scholars, and technologists about the risks such information communication technologies pose to the protection of ‘personal data.’ By ‘personal data’, we mean any information which relates to an individual, who is or can be identified from the data, such as an individual’s internet protocol address, cookies, characteristics or electronic mail address.
The challenges which information communication technologies pose to the protection of personal data have been one of the major drivers for reforming the regulation of personal data, including the current reform of the EU data protection package. How to strike a balance between the protection of personal data and the promotion of the European Union as a world leader in the digital economy is at the heart of the current European reform exercise. For example, the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice in the Google Spain case has raised perplexing, pressing, and practical questions about how companies, such as Google, will deal with the additional regulatory burdens which are now placed on them whilst continuing to drive innovation in the field of information communication technologies. Google reportedly received over 12,000 requests from individuals to remove information relating to them from the results of Google search engine within 24 hours of the Google Spain ruling.
This workshop will investigate whether it is possible for regulators and companies to strike a balance between business innovation and data protection in the Digital Age. This and many more questions will be explored during this workshop by academics, regulators, and practitioners from a range of disciplinary perspectives.
1. What are the major patterns of data use in the digital advertising economy and what are the implications of these for regulation?
2. In what ways can the so-called ‘co-regulation model’ empower and protect consumers?
3. Is ‘co-regulation’ a viable option or will it lead to regulatory capture?
4. Can privacy-enhancing technologies improve the accountability and transparency of companies’ practices in the context of self-regulation?
We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Macquarie University and the Oxford Regulation Discussion Group for this workshop.