ESRs Secondments at Indra, SSSA, Tellu, Jagiellonian University and AGCM

In this special edition of our blog posts, our ESRs write about their experiences and insights they made during their secondments.

Secondments enable ESRs to engage with prominent academics and practitioners at both partner universities and research institutes as well as industrial and regulatory entities. ESRs gain practical experience in how their research might translate into real-life problems encountered by businesses. At the same time, ESRs will be able to complement their research with practical experiences gained throughout the secondment and adapt their research projects accordingly. Finally, they also constitute an invaluable networking opportunity and grant our ESRs the possibility to identify possible career paths. Whether in the academic, regulatory, or industry sectors.

Each ESR will complete two secondments: one at a beneficiary (universities and research institutes) and one at the partners (industry or regulatory bodies) of the LeADS project.

ESR Onntje Hinrichs at Indra and SSSA

From February to March 2024 Onntje completed his secondment at Indra in Madrid, Spain, together with ESR Barbara Lazarotto. From April to June, he is still currently completing his academic indrasecondment at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA) in Pisa, Italy. Both secondments provided him with valuable, new perspectives and insights on his LeADS research topic on ‘solving conflicts between data holders and exploiters through a spectrum of quasi-property models’ and thus the broader question on how to solve and deal with conflicting interests in data by different stakeholders.

During the secondment at Indra, Onntje and Barbara looked at how EU law impacts the regulation of cyber ranges. Cyber ranges are generally understood as platforms for the development, delivery and use of interactive simulation environments. Their purpose can differ depending on the concrete use case and involves, for instance, security testing, competence building or security education and thus concern a wide range of sectors and relevant actors such as corporate, strategic decision makers, military agencies, students or researchers. During their secondment, both ESRs developed together a regulatory mapping to identify relevant policies and regulations for the creation and development of cyber ranges. One of the objectives was to identify how EU law impacts the regulation of data in cyber ranges – for instance the GDPR or the more recent Data Act and AI Act. The secondment provided both researchers with valuable insights to reflect on how a variety of laws become relevant in the context for the development and deployment of digital (cyber security) services and showed the complexity of the still evolving regulatory framework for data in Europe.

For his academic secondment, Onntje currently is staying at SSSA in Pisa, Italy. At SSSA, he is integrated in the Lider Lab, a research group which has a long tradition of both theoretical and empirical legal santannaresearch, training and consulting and benefits from the interdisciplinary milieu of SSSA. In addition to regular seminaries which are highly relevant for his LeADS research topic, such as a presentation by Prof. Tao Qian from China University of Political Science and Law on ‘AI and Copyright – Comparison between China and the EU’, Onntje will present his PhD research to members of the Lab by the end of May 2024. Discussions and feedback provided by researchers at SSSA will thus enable him to further improve and refine his PhD research.

ESR Qifan Yang at Jagiellonian University and AGCM

Qifan Yang, had the privilege of being seconded to two distinct yet complementary environments, each offering invaluable insights into the intricate interplay between data regulation, competition law, and market dynamics. These experiences not only enriched her understanding of the LeADS project but also provided practical perspectives that will significantly inform her academic research.

krakovUnder the supervision of Prof. Fryderyk Zoll and Dr. Katarzyna Południak-Gierz at Jagiellonian University, Qifan Yang engaged in rigorous research activities aimed at unravelling the complexities surrounding the control of personal data and its impact on market competition and other aspects. By exploring real-world case studies, such as the Facebook case, she further analysed the regulatory challenges from data-driven anti-competitive strategies to the implications of mergers and acquisitions within data-intensive sectors, like social media. Additionally, she also explored concepts in consumer protection law, liability law, and behavioural economics, enhancing her understanding of the broader implications of data concentration on privacy reduction.

Transitioning to Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), Qifan Yang delved deeper into the realm of policy evaluation and regulation concerning personal data protection and market competition. Working closely with Dr. Antonio Buttà and Dr. Emanuel Weitschek, Scientific Officers garante comunicazionein the Office of the Chief Economist, she focused on assessing the effectiveness of personal data protection policies and their implications for market dynamics. One of her primary tasks involved analysing the interplay between personal data protection and market competition, evaluating market dominance, unfair competition practices, and monopolistic behaviours in the digital economy. Practical policy evaluations, including those related to personal data protection and competition law, honed her analytical skills and provided a nuanced understanding of regulatory frameworks.

Moreover, collaborating with esteemed scholars and researchers not only broadened her academic horizons but also facilitated the generation of individual publications.

ESR Maciej Zuziak at Tellu and Jagiellonian University

Maciej visited Tellu in Oslo, Norway, in the third quarter of the year 2023, and from day one, he joined hands with the DevOps Department to navigate through European R&D projects. Tellu is a leading provider of welfare technologies for the health sector in Norway and was placed on Deloitte’s list of Fast 50 2023 Norway as a prominent and fast-growing technology company. Maciej joined Tellu to work on projects related to the fast and secure deployment of IoT devices as well as robust and automatic authentication in a decentralized environment.

After departing Norway, our ESR arrived at Jagiellonian University to stay there for the first quarter of krakov2024 and consult a part of his research that concerns the regulation of emerging technologies. As he reflects on the journey through internships, one theme that stands out is the topic of data protection. In an era defined by the digital revolution, where information is currency and privacy is paramount, his internships have provided him with invaluable insights into the complex landscape of safeguarding data. When the data is both a commodity and a vulnerability, the importance of safeguarding privacy cannot be overstated. As Maciej reports, his internships have reinforced his belief in the fundamental right to privacy and the ethical imperative to protect sensitive information. As he left Cracow by the end of April 2024, he was rendered committed to upholding the principles of data protection and championing the cause of privacy in all of his future endeavours.