PhD Defense Lorenzo Dalla Corte: Safeguarding Data Protection in an Open Data World.

On Monday May 18th at 1:30pm Lorenzo Dalla Corte will defend his thesis “Safeguarding Data Protection in an Open Data World – on the idea of balancing data protection and open data in the development of the ’smart city’ environment”.

The link for the live stream is:

The main research question the idea that data protection’s material scope would purportedly be overstretching, by virtue of both technological development and of its judicial and doctrinal interpretation, which would, in theory, compress the amount and kinds of information that can be shared and reused as open data – a core element of the development of the ’smart city’ environment.

The thesis thus inquires whether it would be appropriate to somehow balance the interests underlying open data with the right to personal data protection, bringing back the latter to its original privacy underpinning. 

The thesis examines the meaning of the term ’smart city’, the evolution of public sector information legislation in the EU and its progressive alignment with the concept of open data, the development and (quasi)constitutionalisation of data protection as a standalone fundamental right, the mechanics underlying balancing and proportionality, and the material scope of EU data protection legislation.

It ultimately contends that the idea of balancing open data and personal data protection (be it in the ’smart city’ context or not) is not really about balancing, but rather about deregulating the latter; it also recognises that the scope of the

notion of personal data might indeed be overly inflating, but that the law and its interpretation already contain the mechanisms necessary to keep it in check.

Ultimately, the problem for the development of the smart city is not the tension between open data and data protection, but rather rests on the technologies used to instrument the built environment, on the values underlying their development and deployment, and on the consequences of their adoption.

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