Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

The EU, Privacy, Academic Research, and Freedom of Expression

David Erdos, University of Oxford Faculty of Law, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, has published Freedom of Expression Turned on its Head? Academic Social Research and Journalism in the European Union's Privacy Framework. Here is the abstract.

This article argues that mainstream interpreters have been wrong to hold that academic investigations into social (including historical and political) affairs may benefit only from restrictive “research” provisions of the European Union Privacy Framework, namely Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and transposing national laws, and not from the far more liberal provisions provided for journalism, literature and art. Academic social investigation is clearly orientated towards the production of books, articles and other publications. It fits entirely within “literary” and possibly even “journalistic” processing. Even if such work also falls within “research” as per the Directive, the exemptions in the instrument cannot sensibly be read as imposing a rigid exclusivity requirement on processing. By imposing severe restraints on “high value” academic speech whilst granting “low-value” “infotainment” a much freer rein, the mainstream interpretation does nothing less than turn the logic of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)’s freedom of expression jurisprudence on its head.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/media_law_prof_blog/2011/10/the-eu-privacy-academic-research-and-freedom-of-expression.html

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