LeADS at 2022 Researchers’ Night

LeADS project will be present at the 2022 Researchers’ Night.

Bright Night – Pisa, Italy

ESRs Tommaso Crepax, Robert Poe, Qifan Yang (from SSSA) and Maciej Zuziak (from CNR) will be present at the event organised by Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna.

More info here: https://www.lider-lab.it/2022/09/22/bright-night-2022-la-notte-della-ricerca/

Researchers’ Night – Toulouse, France

ESRs Louis Sahi and Cristian Lepore (from UT3) will be present at the event organised by the University of Toulouse III.

More info here: https://nuitdeschercheurs-france.eu/?2022

Researchers’ Night – Athens, Greece

ESRs Armend Duzha and Christos Magkos (from UPRC) will be present at the event organised by the National Technical University of Athens.

More info here: https://www.ntua.gr/ntuaren/

Malopolska 2022 – Krakow, Poland

ESRs Fatma Dogna and Aizhan Abdrassulova (from JU) will be present at the event organised by the Jagiellonian University.

More info here: https://nauka.uj.edu.pl/mnn


About Researchers’ Night

The European Researchers’ Night is a Europe-wide public event, which displays the diversity of science and its impact on citizens’ daily lives in fun, inspiring ways. This year, the event will take place in 25 countries on Friday, 30th September 2022.

The European Researchers’ Night aims to

  • bring research and researchers closer to the public
  • promote excellent research projects across Europe and beyond
  • increase the interest of young people in science and research careers
  • showcase the impact of researchers’ work on people’s daily lives



Workshop “Designing Human Rights Attentive AI – An Interdisciplinary Perspective”



The LeADS project will co-organize a workshop, titled “Designing Human Rights Attentive AI – An Interdisciplinary Perspective” in a hybrid format at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków on Wednesday 21 September 2022.


13:30 – Welcome Lunch

14:30 – Welcome Speech JU and introductory remarks by Prof. Giovanni Comandé, Scuola Superior Sant’Anna.

15:00 – Session 1 – “Can we trust “fair AI”? Prof. Salvatore Ruggieri, University of Pisa

15:40 – Session 2 – “Privacy attentive AI in consumer markets: Two stories of business adaptation” Dr. Agnieszka Jablonowska,  European University Institute.

16:20 – Session 3 – “Ethical and Legal Issues in Accessing Biobank Data to develop AI”  Dr. Andrea Parziale, Maastricht University

17:00 – Session 4 – “Explaining AI in Cyber Defence” Dr. Marco Antonio Sotelo, INDRA

17:40 – Session 5 – “Explainability: The Example of fintech” Dr. Angelo Dalli, Umnai Malta.

The workshop close with a general discussion regarding the topics previously debated.


For registration, please contact segrliderlab@santannapisa.it

This event will be recorded.

European Health Data Space: A New Vision for the Future of Healthcare in the Union

As a part of the domain-specific common European data spaces[i], proposal for European Health Data Space Act (“the Proposal”) was introduced on 3rd of May. The increasing importance of health data in our current economic and technological environment put the Proposal at the heart of the debate. In this piece, we will briefly explain what the Proposal is offering and what kind of reactions it has received.


The purpose of the Proposal  

According to the Proposal’s memorandum, the reason for the emergence of this regulation is to provide a solution to the EU citizens who couldn’t have been able to access and exercise their rights on health data. Additionally, it is mentioned that uneven implication of GDPR among the member states causes legal uncertainties.

The main goal of the Proposal can be summarized as; creating a system which enables patients to have more control over their data. In addition to this, the Proposal also has provisions regarding the secondary usage of health data and a secure environment for data share within EU.


Envisions of the Proposal

EHDS mainly upholds the application of the rights in the GDPR to electronic health data. The framework of the Proposal is listed below[ii]:

  • Chapter I of the Proposal is dedicated to the definitions of the terms. Although some terms are defined separately, some referred other legislation such as GDPR, Data Governance Act.
  • In Chapter II, the Proposal brings the rights of the primary use of health data for individuals. With this, natural persons would have the rights of controlling their data such as having access, the right to obtain a copy of the data, overseeing and deciding who will access their data.
  • Chapter III of the Proposal mentions Electronic Health Records (“EHR”). These systems which will comply with the conditions stated in this chapter will be allowed to take place in the market. EHR systems will be the key part of cross-border data sharing while setting the standard of health data processing in EU. Commission’s envision for a database of EHR systems and wellness applications will have a positive impact on transparency and safety concerns of the Regulation.
  • Chapter IV is dedicated to secondary use of health data combined with EHR. This section brings several obligations to the data controllers in terms of data sharing. To maintain the governance of this process, the Proposal introduce a new institution called: “Health data access bodies”. Additionally, an infrastructure for cross-border electronic health data share named “HealthData@EU” is mentioned in this section.
  • Chapter VI mentions additional provisions and a new governmental body called European Health Data Space Board (EHDS Board). It is understood from this chapter that, the Board will be in charge of the implication of EHDS Regulation by member states.


The Road Ahead  

It is clear that; EHDS Regulation proposal is up for a hard task and thus it contains ambitious goals. On the one hand, it aims to empower patients, offer potential innovative opportunities and solve researchers’ data access problems and on the other, there are privacy risks and concerns.

As expected, European Data Protection Board and European Data Protection Supervisor published a joint opinion about the Proposal on 12 July 2022. In their analysis, they have rightfully so detected a number of points that need further improvements in the Proposal. One of their major concerns can be put as the interplay problem between the Proposal and previous/future legislation. For instance, the terms introduced by the Proposal such as “data recipient”, “data holder” and “data user” provided new definitions even though they have been defined in the GDPR, Data Act and Data Governance Act. They have mentioned their concerns about creating legal uncertainty if this interplay would not set out diligently. One of the biggest novelties of the Proposal is the secondary use of health data criticized by the EDPB and EDPS for not having detailed explanations for different purposes. It is mentioned in the Opinion that “the Proposal should further delineate these purposes and circumscribe when there is a sufficient connection with public health and/or social security”. Moreover, new administrative bodies are also criticized for the interplay between them and DPAs, also not to mention that these bodies need to have legal expertise on health data.[iii]

European Patients Forum also stated their concerns about the Regulation in their feedback to the Commission. They highlight, patients who are being in charge of their data should be the primary outcome of the Proposal.[iv]

It is stated in EU’s H2020 Program Guidelines on FAIR Data that, data should be “as open as possible, as close as necessary”.[v] The logic behind this principle is to benefit from the data for the public good, it should be accessible, in the meantime, it should be protected to maintain the privacy of individuals. Although the data sharing framework looks promising, EHDS will influence several areas and thus could create legal complexity.[vi] The GDPR has been criticized for not creating an unhindered environment for secondary use of data, therefore, preventing the innovation. The Proposal is an attempt to alter this situation, but we should bear in mind that reactions and feedback to the Proposal will cause fundamental transitions across the EU and in my opinion it’s exciting to witness a transformation of this scale.


[i] ‘A European Strategy for Data | Shaping Europe’s Digital Future’ <https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/strategy-data> accessed 15 August 2022.

[ii] Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the European Health Data Space 2022.

[iii] ‘EDPB-EDPS Joint Opinion 03/2022 on the Proposal for a Regulation on the European Health Data Space’ <https://edpb.europa.eu/system/files/2022-07/edpb_edps_jointopinion_202203_europeanhealthdataspace_en.pdf> accessed 15 July 2022.

[iv] European Patients Forum, ‘EPF’s Response to the European Commission’s Call for Feedback on the European Health Data Space’ <https://www.eu-patient.eu/news/latest-epf-news/2022/response-to-the-european-commissions-call-for-feedback-on-the-european-health-data-space/>.

[v] ‘H2020 Programme Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020’ <https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/grants_manual/hi/oa_pilot/h2020-hi-oa-data-mgt_en.pdf> accessed 17 August 2022.

[vi] Paul de Hert and Anastasiya Kiseleva, ‘Creating a European Health Data Space: Obstacles in Four Key Legal Areas’ (2021) 5 European Pharmaceutical Law Review (EPLR) 17.

Freedom not Fear 2022 Conference

From the 2nd– 5 September 2022 “Freedom not Fear” Conference took place in Brussels, Belgium, organized and funded by European activists with the aim of discussing the newest trends in digital rights in Europe. ESR Barbara Lazarotto attended the Conference as a participant, taking part in the discussions and networking with MEPs and other participants.

On the first day of the Conference, the topics discussed were the new European CSA Regulation, the collection of data by European Agencies such as Frontex and Europol, the impact of the AI Act on the banning of biometric surveillance apps such as Clearview, and the proposed new European Electronic Identity System, with the participation of EDRi Network, Statewatch, Epicenter.Works, and Digitalcourage.

The second day had the participation of MEP Marcel Kolaja (member of the Pegasus Committee) to discuss the impacts and the measures against surveillance software such as Pegasus in fundamental rights. Assistants of MEP Patrick Breyer hosted a brainstorming session related to the impacts of ChatControl regulation. Amongst concurrent sessions about Data Retention, ESSIF, and eIDAS. In the afternoon, MEP Karen Melchior hosted a session related to the bad and the good opportunities of the new EU Digital Legislation.

On Monday, the group headed to the European Parliament where they were able to have a tour and also meet with MEPs Patrick Breyer and Cornelia Ernst to discuss the further developments of EU Digital Legislation. In the afternoon the group joined another meeting with MEP Saskia Bricmont where they had the opportunity to learn more about her workings at the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs, the Conference ended with the participants watching a session of the LIBE Committee at the EP.

Participation of Armend Duzha at the ARES Conference 2022

Armend Duzha participated at the 2nd International Workshop on Advances on Privacy Preserving Technologies and Solutions (IWAPS 2022) and the 6th International Workshop on Security and Forensics of IoT (IoT-SECFOR 2022), both held in conjuction with the 17th International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security (ARES Conference 2022).

Click here for the IWAPS workshop description

Click here for the IoT-SECFOR workshop description


ACM FAccT Conference & Doctoral colloquim

The fifth annual ACM FAccT conference brought together individuals interested in fairness, accountability, and transparency in socio-technical systems. It was held in-person in Seoul, South Korea and online from June 21-24 2022.

Both ESR Xengie Doan attended the conference in person, along with Marietjie Botes from the University of Luxembourg who presented a paper. Xengie applied and was selected to attend the doctoral colloquium.

The doctoral consortium took place in the morning of the 21st. Professor Seth Lazar, with a philosophy background, and Professor Michael L. Littman, with a Computer Science background, began with a conversation about interdisciplinary research. Then, Professor Lazar gave a short introduction of his paper, “Legitimacy, Authority, and the Political Value of Explanations” and ended with valuable insights he learned from doing interdisciplinary research: 1) Don’t focusing too much on trying to have one uber definition to rule them all; 2) beware of false friends in two fields that have fundamental differences. Then the session opened to a Q&A session. Some relevant questions were asked about how to legitimize interdisciplinary research, how to find opportunities, and the mindset to approach research.

After that, the participants had lunch roundtables with mentors, all of whom were distinguished figures in their field. Some were renown professors, some had just spoken on a panel earlier in the day, or some had just found out they won a Distinguished Paper Award at the conference. The mentors were all incredibly kind and willing to give their lunchtime to speak with students.

Following a mentor roundtable, students were put into peer roundtables generally based on topics. Due to my research involving health data, I was put into a group with other PhD students working on health data. There were students in law, AI, and more. We ended up sharing out thesis topics and common issues we were dealing with, such as the opaqueness of ML decisions, the complexity of health data, the overhyping of AI for marketing, and more.

Overall, the FAccT doctoral consortium was a valuable experience that allowed me to meet individuals working on many different fields. It helped me become more knowledgeable and confident working on an interdisciplinary thesis with elements of computer science, privacy, health, and Human Computer Interaction.

AI & Society 2022 Summer School in Pisa

From the 4th to the 8th of July 2022, the first edition of the “AI & Society Summer School”, organized by the Italian National Ph.D. program in Artificial Intelligence, PhD-AI.it, took place at the University of Pisa. The summer school consisted of lectures, panels, poster sessions, and project works. The aim was to advance the frontier of AI research with internationally renowned scientists and build a community for the next generation of AI researchers, innovators, and professionals. All ESRs, Tommaso Crepax, Mitisha Gaur, Robert Lee Poe, Qifan Yang, Maciej Krzysztof Zuziak in the Pisa group of LeADS participated in this summer school.

The welcome lectures were given by Prof. Dino Pedreschi, Prof. Marco Conti and Prof. Vincenzo Ambriola. After that, Prof. Alessio Malizia gave his lecture, “MiniCoDe – Minimise algorithmic bias in Collaborative Decision Making with Design”, and interacted with the participants on how to address bias in algorithms. After an hour-long poster session in the afternoon, Prof. Anna Monreale hosted a panel on “The Future of AI Research” with five women scientists – namely Prof. Francesca Chiaromonte, Prof. Rita Cucchiara, Prof. Fosca Giannotti, Prof. Michela Milano, Prof. Sara Tonelli – in different areas. The following lectures of the summer school covered social artificial intelligence, developmental robots for language learning, trust and theory of mind, human face recognition, deep learning theory, interdisciplinarity of data science and AI, etc.

During the poster session, ESRs showed great poster presentations and introduced their works on “interplay between privacy protection and market competition in the digital revolution (Yang Qifan)”, “differential privacy and differential explainability in the data sphere” by Mitisha, “unchaining data portability potentials in a lawful digital economy” by Tommaso Crepax, “the distinction between fairness and bias by Robert Lee Poe, and “use of distributed personal data management for personalization of digital services by Maciej Krzysztof Zuziak. All ESRs had active discussions with the participating scholars.

On the last day, ESRs presented their project works from their groups, involving “reducing polarization in social media through diffusion models” by Qifan Yang, “polarization detection via the semantic network” by Mitisha Gaur, “a smart mobility platform to improve urban air quality” by Tommaso Crepax, “a multi-way explainable interface for high-risk public use applications by Robert Lee Poe and “continual active learning for healthcare” by Maciej Krzysztof Zuziak. The proposals from Tommaso’s group and Mitisha’s group won second and third prizes.


Call for Papers – Digital Ethics: Insights into How Technology Shapes Us And the World We Live In

Humanities & Social Sciences Communications is a fully open-access, online journal publishing peer-reviewed research from across—and between—all areas of the humanities, behavioural and social sciences. The journal is strongly committed to upholding the highest editorial and ethical standards and providing our authors and readers with a responsive and efficient service. Dr. Marietjie Botes, one of LeADS collaborators, is the Co-Guest Editor of a special edition, entitled ‘Digital ethics: Insights into how technology shapes us and the world we live in’ to be published in the academic journal Humanities & Social Sciences Communications published by Springer Nature.

Open access policy

The journal levies an article processing charge (APC)on papers accepted for publication. Authors who lack funding to cover open access publication from either their funder or institution should contact the journal (hsscomms@springernature.com) prior to submission to discuss options.

Call for papers

This topical collection invites contributions from across disciplinary and geographical boundaries that confront the plethora of ethical dilemmas that digital technologies bring. The deadline for submissions is March 2023, for more information check the journal website.

7th Summer Academy for Global Privacy Law 2022

From the 27th to the 1st of July 2022 the “7th Summer Academy for Global Privacy Law 2022: Engineering data regulation(s) in an age of reform” took place at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels – VUB, one of the LeADS beneficiaries. In a hybrid format, the Summer Academy focused on the EU data governance reform, emphasizing coherence, comprehensiveness, and effectiveness. ESRs Onntje Hinrichs and Barbara Lazarotto were on the organization team along with Lina Jasmontaite, Muhammed Dermican, and Michael Van den Poel.

The program dedicated each day to a regulatory instrument, placing each regulatory text within its proper background and ecosystem, before analyzing its regulatory approach and (still draft) provisions. There was particular attention to the regulation’s relationship with specific aspects of the EU data protection law, particularly with the GDPR.

In the morning, participants attended lectures by selected speakers including internationally recognized academics, policymakers, data protection authorities, and civil society representatives. In the afternoon, they engaged in role-playing sessions focused on real-life possible applications of regulations.

Barbara Lazarotto and Muhammed Dermican (Brussels Privacy Hub Managing Director and Ph.D. candidate) were the Lecturers of the Role-Playing Session named “Selling Books on Amazon: Why would you even need the DMA?”, which explored the relationship between the Digital Markets Act with the GDPR. The participants were divided into different groups that represented different roles such as Amazon Legal Team, NOYB, EDPS, DG Competition, and Publisher’s Law Firm, and had as objective to defend their interests facing an online market sale scenario. In the end, all participants discussed their points of view about the case, the DMA, and its connections with Competition Law and Data Privacy Law.

The Summer Academy ended by strengthening the understanding of the participants regarding the EU data governance reform and further questions that might appear in the future.

Data Protection Law Scholars Network study about The Right to Lodge a Complaint

The first study of the European Data Protection Scholars Network (DPSN) commissioned by Access Now is now published. This study aims to map current DPA practices related to the right to lodge a complaint (Article 77 of the GDPR) across different EU countries, combining legal analysis and the observation of DPA websites, together with insights from the online public register of decisions adopted under the ʻone-stop-shopʼ mechanism. In general, the research shows discrepancies that concern fundamental aspects of the submission and handling of complaints, with potentially serious implications on the level of data protection in the EU.

Amongst the authors are Gloria González Fuster one of LeADS co-supervisors and Barbara da Rosa Lazarotto (ESR 7).

Click to here read the full study.