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Article

Access_open Right to Access Information as a Collective-Based Approach to the GDPR’s Right to Explanation in European Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords automated decision-making, right to access information, right to explanation, prohibition on discrimination, public information
Authors Joanna Mazur
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents a perspective which focuses on the right to access information as a mean to ensure a non-discriminatory character of algorithms by providing an alternative to the right to explanation implemented in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I adopt the evidence-based assumption that automated decision-making technologies have an inherent discriminatory potential. The example of a regulatory means which to a certain extent addresses this problem is the approach based on privacy protection in regard to the right to explanation. The Articles 13-15 and 22 of the GDPR provide individual users with certain rights referring to the automated decision-making technologies. However, the right to explanation not only may have a very limited impact, but it also focuses on individuals thus overlooking potentially discriminated groups. Because of this, the article offers an alternative approach on the basis of the right to access information. It explores the possibility of using this right as a tool to receive information on the algorithms determining automated decision-making solutions. Tracking an evolution of the interpretation of Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Right and Fundamental Freedoms in the relevant case law aims to illustrate how the right to access information may become a collective-based approach towards the right to explanation. I consider both, the potential of this approach, such as its more collective character e.g. due to the unique role played by the media and NGOs in enforcing the right to access information, as well as its limitations.


Joanna Mazur
Joanna Mazur, M.A., PhD student, Faculty of Law and Administration, Uniwersytet Warszawski.

    In this paper I propose to analyse the binary notion of personal data and highlight its limits, in order to propose a different conception of personal data. From a risk regulation perspective, the binary notion of personal data is not particularly fit for purpose, considering that data collection and information flows are tremendously big and complex. As a result, the use of a binary system to determine the applicability of EU data protection law may be a simplistic approach. In an effort of bringing physics and law together, certain principles elaborated within the quantum theory are surprisingly applicable to data protection law, and can be used as guidance to shed light on many of today’s data complexities. Lastly, I will discuss the implications and the effects that certain processing operations may have on the possibility of qualifying certain data as personal. In other terms, how the chances to identify certain data as personal is dependent upon the processing operations that a data controller might put in place.


Alessandro El Khoury
Alessandro El Khoury, LLM, Legal and Policy Officer, DG Health & Food Safety, European Commission.

    The doctrinal methodology is in a period of change and transition. Realising that the scope of the doctrinal method is too constricting, academic lawyers are becoming eclectic in their use of research method. In this transitional time, legal scholars are increasingly infusing evidence (and methods) from other disciplines into their reasoning to bolster their reform recommendations.
    This article considers three examples of the interplay of the discipline of law with other disciplines in the pursuit of law reform. Firstly the article reviews studies on the extent of methodologies and reformist frameworks in PhD research in Australia. Secondly it analyses a ‘snapshot’ of recently published Australian journal articles on criminal law reform. Thirdly, it focuses on the law reform commissions, those independent government committees that play such an important role in law reform in common law jurisdictions.
    This examination demonstrates that while the doctrinal core of legal scholarship remains intact, legal scholars are endeavouring to accommodate statistics, comparative perspectives, social science evidence and methods, and theoretical analysis, within the legal research framework, in order to provide additional ballast to the recommendations for reform.


Terry Hutchinson
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, QUT Law School (t.hutchinson@qut.edu.au); Marika Chang (QUT Law School) was the research assistant on this project.
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