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HRBDT Overview

The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL) is a partner on the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology (HRBDT) Project, which is based at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex.  This large-scale UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) project aims to explore both the perils and the promises of the use of big data and associated technology from a human rights perspective.  More specifically, it seeks to:

  • Map and analyse the challenges and opportunities of the use of big data and associated technology from a human rights perspective;
  • Consider whether fundamental human rights concepts and approaches need to be updated and adapted to meet the new realities of technology in the era of big data; and,
  • Develop good practice guidelines on technology, big data and human rights and propose remedies and regulatory responses from a rights-based perspective.

The Cambridge CIPIL Contribution

The CIPIL contribution to the Project is led by Dr David Erdos with Dr Krzysztof Garstka, formally the Project’s Information Governance Research Associate and now an Associate at CIPIL. In addition to contributing to the Project’s aims as a whole, the CIPIL contribution leads on certain aspects specifically related to data protection, big data and associated technologies within both Work Streams One (Full Rights, Implications, Regulation and Remedies) and Two (Surveillance and Human Rights).

As regards Work Stream One (Full Rights Implications, Regulation and Remedies), David and Krzysztof are currently exploring the potential for a globalization of the so-called ʻright to be forgottenʼ looking at data protection instruments at the transnational level (including those developed at the UN, OCED, Council of Europe, EU/EEA, APEC, ASEAN, ECOWAS and AU), as well as statutory, jurisprudential and regulatory developments in select jurisdictions (especially within the G20). 

Turning to Work Stream Two (Surveillance and Human Rights), Krzysztof has explored the role of EU data protection instruments, as well looking at the potential role of other transnational data protection instruments, in the regulation of surveillance technologies.  Building on this, CIPIL also plan to explore the position of domestic data protection in surveillance regulation within the UK and Germany and help analyse related issues within this Work Stream’s other case studies, namely, Brazil, India and the United States.