ESR Tommaso Crepax presents his research at the Privacy Symposium

ESR Tommaso Crepax presented his article on “The ‘Meta-moth-phosis’ of Data Portability: Observing the Transformation of Data Portability Through a Comparative Analysis of Definitions Across European Legislation” at this year’s Privacy Symposium conference, which took place in Venice, Italy, from June 10th to June 14th.

In his article, Tommaso examines the varying interpretations of data portability across different legislative frameworks. While each jurisdiction labels the concept as “portability,” the underlying understanding of what constitutes portability significantly differs. This research shows that the notion of data portability has undergone a substantial transformation: initially centered on empowering users by enabling data export and transfer, it has progressively shifted focus to benefit the data market by making data accessible to various entities in an easily-modifiable, machine-readable format. The metamorphosis of portability is complete in the Data Act: from larva to moth—the meta-moth-phosis.

For more information, read his blog post and abstract.

ESR Onntje Hinrichs publication in the Journal of European Consumer and Market Law (EuCML)

Cover image ofJournal of European Consumer and Market LawESR Onntje Hinrichs’ article on “Consumer Law and the Regulation of the Free Flow of Data: Upsetting the Balance of the European Data Protection Framework” has been published in the Journal of European Consumer and Market Law (EuCML).

Over the past years, scholars have increasingly investigated the complementarity of data protection and consumer law with regard to the protection of consumer data. No attention, however, has thus far been paid to the consequences which consumer law might have on the free flow of both personal and non-personal data.

In his article, Onntje analyzes various consumer law instruments and shows how consumer law transposes the principle of free movement of data from data protection to non-personal data via maximum harmonization. At the same time, however, his article demonstrates how consumer law risks undermining the object of data protection law to create a harmonized legal framework that facilitates the free flow of personal data.

The entire article can be accessed via this link.



ESR Fatma Doğan at PhD Summer School on Artificial Intelligence and Law 2024 at Tübingen University


Between the 13th and 17th of May, ESR Fatma Doğan had the opportunity to attend the Summer School, an event that brought together researchers from a variety of fields to share insights, foster collaboration, and advance collective knowledge. It was an invigorating experience, to say the least.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the summer school was the opportunity for Fatma to present a part of her PhD research. Sharing her work with such a diverse and knowledgeable audience was exhilarating. The feedback received was invaluable, offering new perspectives and ideas that Fatma is eager to incorporate into her research. The summer school provided a fantastic platform for Fatma to network with other researchers. Engaging with peers from different disciplines opened her eyes to various methodologies and approaches that she hadn’t considered before. These interactions highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in driving innovation and solving complex problems.

The event featured many esteemed scholars who gave insightful talks on a wide range of topics such as Nadya Purtova, Lilian Edwards, Michael Veale, Uli Sachs and Yong Lim. Just to give an example, Fatma shared some remarks from Woodrow Hartzog’s speech.

Prof. Hartzog delved into the complex risks of AI and the challenges of regulating this technology. He highlighted the difficulty of understanding AI’s full risks, noting the divide between techno-optimists and techno-doomers. Prof. Hartzog stressed the dangers of an unregulated information ecosystem and the necessity of proactive measures to prevent harmful advancements by less scrupulous actors. He pointed out the growing privacy risks posed by IoT devices like facial recognition doorbells and the increasing use of AI for micro-management in schools, workplaces, and universities. This creates an “AI micro-managing machine” that personalizes ads and perpetuates misinformation—a scenario he described as a “snake eating its own tail.”

Regarding regulation, Prof. Hartzog critiqued Biden’s executive order on AI, which focuses on transparency but often falls short. Transparency is insufficient without real power for individuals, and debiasing AI is challenging and doesn’t necessarily make systems less dangerous. Ethical guidelines and advisory boards, while well-intentioned, often lack authority, creating a false sense of progress. Emphasizing individual control over personal data is misleading when system designs don’t support genuine autonomy. Prof. Hartzog mentioned that governments must protect individuals regardless of their choices because ‘no technology is neutral’. Lawmakers should be involved in tech development to ensure alignment with societal values. He highlighted the importance of maintaining social trust and pointed out that meaningful AI development might reduce industry profits but is essential to avoid societal harm. Technologies requiring significant human exploitation might not be necessary.

Reflecting on historical lessons, Prof. Hartzog noted the decline in public trust in tech companies and the growing calls for stricter regulations, such as bans on facial recognition. Local efforts, like city councils banning facial recognition, demonstrate meaningful action once considered unimaginable. Finally, Prof. Hartzog emphasized that addressing bias in AI is crucial but just a starting point. Bias correction alone won’t eliminate the risk of AI being used oppressively. He compared AI regulation to speed limits—necessary for safety despite being imperfect. He also noted that surveillance-driven advertising contributes to misinformation, underscoring the need for comprehensive and proactive AI governance, ethical development, and privacy protection to ensure technology serves society responsibly.

This summer school was more than just an academic exercise; Fatma is looking forward to applying the insights gained to her ongoing research. Lastly, Fatma is thankful to the organizers and participants who made the Summer School a success.

LeADS Game Night

The LeADS Project has developed a set of board games that we would love to share with you. The games were developed by the four crossroads of the LeADS projects and are designed to be engaging and educational. Interested in trivia games? Join us for around of “Know-IT All!” Interested in games of role-playing, discussion and debate? Join us for a round of “Jury Trials,” “Privacylandia,” or “SynergyLegal”.

The Game Night will be held on the 9th of July 2024 from 7:00 PM onwards in Pisa! Details are on the flyer (attached).  The games will be conducted in English, so feel free to get family and friends! See you there!

For more info and location here