ESR Soumia Zohra El Mestari at 5th AAAI/ACM conference on Artificial Intelligence , Ethics and Society (AIES)

Early-Stage Researcher Soumia Zohra El Mestari (ESR 15) attended the fifth AAAI/ACM conference on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics and Society (AIES) hosted at Keble college, university of Oxford in the United Kingdom from August 1st to 3rd 2022.

Soumia applied and was selected to attend the doctoral programme that was organized by the conference. As part of the student programme, Soumia participated in various workshops along with PhD students from different disciplines namely: Ethics, Law, Philosophy, and computer science.

The participants took part in many group working sessions along with mentors who are distinguished scientists in their fields. The workshops were followed by lunch roundtables with mentors.

During the last day of the conference, Soumia presented her PhD work around the usage of Privacy Enhancing Technologies(PETs) in machine learning pipelines as a tool to achieve the EU vision of trustworthy AI systems.



She first began by discussing the various conceptions of privacy in the context of data driven solutions, the different threat points throughout the machine learning pipeline and how these threat points can be exploited to maintain strong privacy attacks that can not only lead to heavy leakage bills but also may be invisible to detect. Then, the presentation also discussed the various PETs used to mitigate those attacks along with the pros and cons of each mitigation strategy.

Finally, Soumia concluded her presentation by stressing on the fact that the effective identification of the threat points can be a key element to solve some of the privacy issues. However, solving some privacy issues may come at the cost of other trustworthiness elements such as fairness and transparency. Hence, building a trustworthy AI pipeline is a challenging task since the acceptable tradeoff between those trustworthiness elements remains hard to measure.

Participation of ESR Aizhan Abdrassulova in Conferences in December 2022

Early Stage Researcher 12 Aizhan Abdrassulova presented her research at the International scientific and practical conference State, Security and Human Rights in the Digital Era” hosted by the University of Warsaw on December 8-9 2022.

Aizhan presented her topic “Data privacy and data trust – how to find a balance”, in which she raised the issue to find the best way to comply with the principle of where data is “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”.

Also on December 19, Aizhan visited Kozminsky University in Warsaw, where she was a speaker at the international conference Legal Comparatistic in Legislative-Political Discourse. Legality or Abuse”.

Aizhan’s topic “Comparative legal analysis of digitalization of the political space of Poland and Kazakhstan” was interesting from the point of view of comparing the political spaces of Poland and Kazakhstan according to such criteria as the legal framework, information awareness of citizens of both countries and digital capabilities in the political space.

LeADS Organises TILL Workshop and Conference on Data Sciences & EU Regulations

On the 6th and 7th of December 2022, the 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) met again for the Conference on Data Sciences and EU Regulations and for the Technology Innovation in Law Laboratories (TILL) workshop in Toulouse, France. The events took place under the auspices of IRIT, Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier, one of the beneficiaries of the LeADS project.


Conference on Data Sciences and EU Regulations

The two-day LeADS event kicked off with the Conference on Data Sciences and EU Regulations organised by IRIT.The conference was divided into three sessions. The opening session consisted of two keynote talks. The first keynote was entitled “Technological Barriers & Opportunities for Data Sciences” by Jean-Michel Loubes from IMT-ANITI who presented his research on algorithmic bias. The second keynote, entitled “Barriers and opportunities for Data Sciences brought by EU Regulations” by Emanuel Weitschek from the Italian Competition Authority made an analysis of the current EU Regulations that provide opportunities for data sciences, such as the Data Markets Act.

The conference continued with the LeADS ESRs’ poster session, where they presented the development of their research.

The third and final session was a panel discussion on “Best practices for digital technology development in the era of big regulation” with Gabriele Lenzini from University of Luxembourg, Jessica Eynard from Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, Nicolas Viallet from Université de Toulouse, and Teesta Bhandare from Art Garde. The panel covered many topics such as AI for art tokens, online age verification and children’s safety on the internet, and the relevant EU policy and regulatory measures.


Technology Innovation in Law Laboratories (TILL) Workshop

On the second day, the ESRs gathered at IRIT again for the Technology Innovation in Law Laboratories (TILL)workshop. These two-part workshop series in the LeADS training program present the ESRs with the opportunity to do hands-on exploration of practical cases. The goal of the TILL workshops is to go beyond the conventional learning practices and focus on horizontal interactions and collaborative learning. TILLs also aim to prepare the ESRs for their upcoming secondments (at companies and regulators) in terms of knowledge transfer and in a more general pedagogical context seeking to reconcile the different vocabularies and practices around technology and law. 

The first one of the TILL workshops was co-organised by the LeADS beneficiaries Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and University of Luxembourg. The practical cases to be worked on were provided by the LeADS partners TELLU, Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) and INDRA.

The workshop kicked off with an introduction by Imge Ozcan from VUB and Arianna Rossi and Marietjie Botes from University of Luxembourg. Following this introductory session, the workshop continued in breakout sessions where the ESR teams worked on the practical cases.


Team 1 was composed of ESRs Xengie Doan, Fatma Sumeyra Dogan, Aizhan Abdrassulova, and Soumia Elmestari. They worked on a use case on health personnel access to e-health data provided by TELLU. Supported by their mentors Arianna Rossi (University of Luxembourg) and Katarzyna Południak-Gierz (Jagiellonian University), the group of ESRs discussed solutions and proposed a health data management prototype that offers read access only to patient data, 2F authentication, encryption, and easy opt-out solutions.

Team 2, formed of ESRs Tommaso CrepaxBarbara LazarottoMitisha GaurQifan Yang, and Louis Sahiworked on a practical case related to data portability provided by the Italian Competition Authority. With the support of their mentors, Marietjie Botes (University of Luxembourg) and Ali Mohamed Kandi (Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier University), the team worked on an Instagram story as a case study and came up with a data portability proposal, covering several crucial aspects such data protection, IP Law, technical standards and economic implications.



Team 3, formed by ESRs Armend Duzha, Onntje Hinrichs, Cristian Lepore, Maciej Zuziak, and Robert Poe, worked on a practical case on biometrics deployment in security systems provided by INDRA. Supported by their mentors Gloria González Fuster (VUB) and Gabriele Lenzini (University of Luxembourg), the team proposed a holistic solution providing innovative technical recommendations in line with the security rules for attaining Facility Security Clearance (FSC) and data protection rules embodied in the GDPR​.

In the late afternoon, the ESR teams presented their findings in an interactive session and received questions and feedback from the LeADS members and other participants. Claudia Castillo Arias (INDRA), José Francisco Suárez Mulero(INDRA), Liubov Kokorina (TELLU) and Emanuel Weitschek (AGCM) also joined the interactive session to provide feedback on behalf of the partners that provided the practical cases.

The ESRs were encouraged to build on the work developed during this workshop and were offered further collaboration opportunities by LeADS partners and beneficiaries. The second TILL workshop will take place in December 2023.

ESRs Bárbara and Onntje at Digital Legal Talks 2022

On November 24th 2022, ESRs Bárbara Lazarotto and Onntje Hinrichs participated in the Digital Legal Talks in Utrecht. The event was the third annual conference organised by the Digital Legal Lab, which is a research network that is constituted of Tilburg University, University of Amsterdam, Radbound University Nijmegen, and Maastricht University. The topic of the conference was dedicated to law and technology and focused on a wide variety of topics such as responsible data sharing, enforcement and the use of technology, the recently proposed and passed EU data laws, and involved as keynote speakers Sandra Wachter from the Oxford Internet Institute and Thomas Streinz from NYU School of Law (for more information consult the program of the conference). Onntje and Bárbara both presented their research in relation to the Data Act Proposal (DA proposal). However, each focussed on different aspects. Whereas Onntje discussed what the DA does or does not do for consumers, Bárbara focused on the Business-to-Government data sharing aspects of the proposal.

In his presentation “The Data Act Proposal: A Missed Opportunity for Consumers”, Onntje presented his perspective on why the DA might fail its objective of “empowering individuals with regard to their data” (a more extensive version of his findings has been published in Privacy in Germany 06/2022 (PinG)). His presentation therefore focussed on the B2C data sharing provisions in chapter II of the proposal. The DA contains various provisions that are supposed to strengthen consumer protection such as (i) an obligation to design IoT products in a way that data are accessible by default (ii) pre-contractual information obligations on data generated by IoT products (iii) obligation for data holders to make data available free of charge upon request by consumers (iv) data holders can only use any non-personal data generated by IoTs on basis of a contract (v) right to share data with third parties (including various provisions that offer protection to consumers in their relation to third-parties). 

Onntje concluded, however, that these provisions might not be sufficient to empower consumers with regard to ‘their’ data as claimed by the proposal – instead, they might strengthen (or at least confirm) the position of data holders as de-facto owners of IoT-generated data in B2C relations: First, the access rights are likely to be designed in a very restrictive way. Instead of allowing consumers to port data, data holders will likely only be obliged to ‘make data available’. Second, the obligation imposed on data holders to conclude a contract as the basis for use of any non-personal data generated by IoT devices would not provide any meaningful protection to consumers. Due to the complete lack of any safeguards with regard to that contract, it would not solve any problems related to control but only legitimize them. By confirming the de facto ownership position of data holders as de facto owners of IoT data, the DA would therefore fail to create any incentives for data holders to design their products in a more privacy-friendly way. To provide more meaningful protection, the DA could have introduced, for instance, provisions that sanction unfair contract terms with regard to devices that excessively collect and process data which are entirely unrelated to the product or the services it provides.

In her presentation “The implications of the Proposed Data Act to B2G data sharing in smart cities”, Barbara made an analysis of how business-to-government data sharing provisions of the DA can be applicable to smart cities contexts. Chapter V creates a general obligation to make privately held data available based on “exceptional needs”, highlighting the circumstances in which those needs would exist, namely public emergencies and situations in which the lack of data prevents the public sector from fulfilling a specific task in the public interest. In a general analysis of Chapter V, Barbara expressed that some recent modifications made by the Czech Presidency gave the Proposal a different dimension especially when it comes to the possibility of the development of smart cities. The adoption of a more detailed Recital 58, which now defines guidance on what can be considered lawful tasks in the public interest, opens the path to a discreet development of smart cities. The modifications also have enhanced the connections of the Act with other regulations, especially with the GDPR, demanding stricter personal data protection measures by the public sector, a matter that was a source of criticism by many opinions on the Proposal.

Overall, Bárbara concluded that the recent changes can be considered a good step when it comes to enhancing personal data protection in business-to-government data sharing and also creating a lawful basis for the sharing of data in the public interest which can benefit the development of smart cities. Nevertheless, she highlighted that the Proposal still falls short of having a broad impact on these contexts since it does not fight against the power imbalance between municipalities and the private sector, nor creates measures against the “silo mentality” that infiltrates data-sharing provisions between the businesses and governments in smart cities contexts. Bárbara was also invited to participate in a Panel on “Transparency Rules for Digital Infrastructures” organized by Max van Drunen and Jef Ausloos. The Panel started with a general comparison between the Data Act and Digital Services Act on access to data for research purposes. The issues with labeling “vetted researchers” and what it means to be a researcher was topic of discussion. At last, the “dependence on data” to conduct research was debated.

IRIT and LeADS Conference on Data Sciences and EU Regulations

The LeADS project will co-organize a Conference, titled “Conference on Data Sciences and EU Regulations” in a hybrid format at the IRIT, Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France on Tuesday 6 December 2022.


9:00 – 9:15 – Introduction by Jean-marc Pierson (IRIT)

9:15 – 10:30 – Session 1

Keynote talk on “Technological barriers & opportunities for Data Sciences” – Jean-michel Loubes  (IMT-ANITI)

Keynote talk on “Barriers and opportunities for Data Sciences brought by EU regulations” – Emanuel Weitschek
(Italian Competition Authority)


10:30 – 11:00 – Session 2

Posters presentation by Early Stage Researchers of the LeADS project

11:00 – 12:30 – Session 3

Panel on “Best practices for digital technology development in the era of big regulation” –  Gabriele Lenzini
(University of Luxembourg), Jessica Eynard (Université Toulouse 1 – Capitole), Nicolas Viallet (Université de Toulouse), Teesta Bhandare (Art Garde)


12:30 – 14:00 – Lunch


Participation is free and open to all, but prior registration is mandatory for December 4 at the latest.

ESR Barbara Lazarotto participation at 1st Democracy & Digital Citizenship Conference Series

Early Stage Researcher Barbara Lazarotto (ESR 7) presented her research at the 1st Democracy & Digital Citizenship Conference Series, hosted by Roskilde Universiteit on September 29-30 2022 in Roskilde, Denmark.


As a part of the panel named Data bodies/digital panopticonBarbara presented her topic of “The myth of “dataism” and the construction of citizen-centered cities” exploring the role of sociotechnical imaginaries on the datafication of cities.

To do that, Barbara first presented the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries, explaining its role in pushing for the datafication of society, especially cities, promising impartial, reliable, and legitimate decision-making, yet giving the datafication and categorization of citizens and entire populations.

Barbara presented a solution of placing citizens at the center of the decision-making process of creating smart cities, connecting with Lefebvre’s idea of “Right to the City”. The new participatory city-making does not intend to replace the current democratic system but add to the current one new forms of citizen participation. At last, Barbara highlighted that Data Protection is also essential to increase citizen empowerment in cities, by enhancing data minimisation, transparency, and proportionality.

TcIoT Workshop “Trusted Computing and the Internet of Things”


We are pleased to invite you to the workshop “Trusted Computing and the Internet of Things” that will take place on Thursday, November 10 in hybrid mode at Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse – IRIT (a LeADS partner). Participation in this event is free and open to all, but prior registration is mandatory. For more information and registration go to the event website.Program:

9:15-9:30 – Introduction

9:30 – 10:30 – Session 1 

  • Trust management in large-scale IoT – Pr. Mawloud OMAR (Université Bretagne Sud)
  • How to authenticate things (objects) remotely? Opportunities and challenges of today’s technologies – Dr. Gabrielle LENZINI (University of Luxembourg)

10.30 – 11.00 – Coffee Break

11.00 – 12.00 – Session 2

  • Analyzing the risk of IoT enabled cyber-physical attack paths against critical systems – Pr. Panayiotis KOTZANIKOLAOU (University of Piraeus)
  • Privacy Preserving Authentication for Internet of Vehicles (IoV) – Dr. Khaled HAMOUID (ESIEE Paris)

12.00 – 14.00 – Lunch Break

14.00 – 15.00 – Session 3

  • Secure integration of IT and OT – Prof. Sokratis KATSIKAS (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
  • Trust in the IoT ecosystem – Dr. Youcef IMINE (Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France)

15.00 – 15.30 – Coffee Break

15.30 – 16.30 – Session 4

  • Greater reliability in the IoT thanks to the group – Pr. Maryline LAURENT (Télécom SudParis)
  • Blockchain-based cryptographic key management for IoT – Dr. Mohamed Ali KANDI (Paul Sabatier University – Toulouse 3)

16.30 – 17.30 – Round table and conclusion

ESR Mitisha Gaur presents her work at the IE Law School’s LawTomation Days Conference 2022

The IE Law School (Madrid, Spain) hosted a conference on the 29th and 30th of September – LawTomation Days, which was focused on the examination and discussion about the development of AI in various aspects of society. ESR Mitisha Gaur presented her work with predictive justice as a panel member on the discussion track Legal Tech and E-Justice.

Her work titled “The core tenets for designing a reliable predictive justice AI system” focused on investigating the use of AI systems in courts and the basic design issues with AI Systems which make justice merely statistical and prediction based instead of deliberative in nature. Through her work, she highlighted the importance of creating an AI system which is focused on including context and background of the facts as a core component which will allow AI Systems to better understand the issues placed before them.

Her work also focused on highlighting the hyper-reliance on substantive law and how that skewers the ability of judicial officers and lawyers to rely on the computations of predictive justice algorithms as they completely ignore the use of procedural law in the system and therefore produce results which are incompatible with the real-world applications and how the inclusion of procedural law while designing predictive justice systems is crucial from the context of fairness, reliability and accountability of the AI system.

ESR Fatma Doğan presents her work at Digital Law & Policy Conference


Between the dates 10-11 September, Digital Law & Policy – Proportionality Principle In IT Regulation Conference was held in Warsaw. The Conference was organized by the University of Warsaw under the patronage of the European Data Protection Supervisor. The program started with the opening speech of the lead coordinator of the conference, Jan Czarnocki in his opening words, he pointed our attention to the fact that proportionality is a concept that is often omitted and ensuring the balance in the law-making process must pay attention.

The European Data Protection Supervisor gave a presentation and mentioned the advisory document published by EDPS, titled: Guidelines for assessing the proportionality of measures that limit the fundamental rights to privacy and the protection of personal data. The first day of the conference continued with the presentations of the valuable speakers.

ESR Fatma Doğan gave a presentation on the topic she worked on with Prof Paul de Hert, titled: A Year After EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation: An Analysis in Retrospect. In the presentation, she mentioned the proportionality and data protection constraints of the mentioned Regulation, especially from a health data protection perspective. The fact that the Regulation was extended for one more year even though its problematic features make the topic worth discussing further.

ESRs Armend Duzha and Christos Magkos at National Technical University of Athens Researchers’ Night


On September 30th at the National Technical University of Athens, in the historical Averof building, ESRs Armend Duzha and Christos Magkos together with an associate researcher in LeADS Manolis Alexakis participated in the 2022 Researchers’ Night. An annual event in which all universities and research centers of the Attica region gathered to present the ongoing activities they are involved in. We were present at the “European Corner”, where the MSCA fellows presented their posters, ESRs addressed questions from not only the audience but also other researchers and students of both universities and schools.


Researchers were able to learn about ongoing research and innovation in physics, computer science, and chemistry as well as discuss on topics regarding Human Rights, European policy, and the ever-increasing importance of privacy in a digital world.