8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress (IV). Fundamental rights

Notes from the 8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Challenges and Opportunities of Online Entertainment, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 9-10 July 2012. More notes on this event: idp2012.

Communications on fundamental rights
Chairs: Miquel Peguera. Senior Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

Constitution 2.0 and Rule of Law: on the Iceland Constitution.
Pere Simón Castellano, Derecho Constitucional de la Universitat de Girona.

Even if everyone has to obey the law, it is also true that theory and practice of Law are somewhat different things. ICTs may have also helped in this dichotomy from theory to practice, affecting the rule of Law.

Transparency and participation have, on the other hand, also changed the landscape of law enforcement and its efficiency.

The case of the Iceland Constitution is a very good example of this change of paradigm. The whole process, all the debates and conversations were either streamed or published online.

But can the Iceland case be extrapolated to other places with more population? Does it scale? Is the citizenry ready for more doses of democracy? Will people be eager or able to participate more intensely?

Redefining the isegory: open data citizens.
Helena Nadal Sánchez, Departamento de Derecho Público de la Universidad de Burgos; Javier de la Cueva González-Cotera, Abogado.

Why isegory? Our actual challenges are very much like the challenges that had to face our ancestors. Technologies might be a little bit different, but they are technologies anyway. Open data is a new way of understanding freedom of expression, the capability to participate and engage in citizenship.

The initiative Adopt a Senator showed that citizens are usually more careful and efficient in providing good data on public issues. They work better for democracy through transparency.

The principle of demarcation: data traceability should be under certain criteria, like validity: that is, truth may not be necessary, but formal rigour is absolutely a must. Coherence of data. A heuristic in 4 stages has been drawn so that validity can be assessed depending on its traceability.

Isegory breaks with hierarchy and the deterministic approach to history. Citizenship is liquid and it is on a daily basis, on doing, that institutions are built. Permissions have to be dealt with under the light of freedom of expression, not intellectual property.

Data preservation and illicit actions in matters of intellectual property: a constitutional vision of the Directive 2006/24.
María Concepción Torres Díaz, Profesora de Derecho Constitucional, Universidad de Alicante.

What is the possibility and/or the impact on law that ISP reveal personal data in case of infraction of intellectual property rights? What are the rights affected? Privacy, data protection, secret of communications, intellectual property rights. Which is the priority? And in case where priorities were fixed on whether the crime is felony, how do we describe what constitutes felony?

In principle, personal date have to be available for research purposes, and detection and prosecution of serious crime.

Thus, depending on each specific case, it has to be accurately assessed the purpose of disclosing personal data. In any case, the Court of Justice of the European Union allows the disclosure of personal data if the national law (in this case in Sweden) also allows this disclosure.

The balance between intellectual property and data protection: on the changing weight of a new law.
Gloria González Fuster, Researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Research Group on Law Science Technology & Society (LSTS) (Belgium).

SABAM (the Belgian authors association) in Scarlett Extended vs. SABAM and SABAM vs. Netlog asked for content filtering because of copyright infringement. Both cases have been partly cited as good examples for voting against ACTA.

Historically, the Court of Justice of the European Union has been inconsistent and changing on the way it has approached data protection when the later has been confronted against intellectual property rights. The problem has always been finding the correct balance between data protection or privacy and intellectual property rights.

In the cases of Scarlett Extended and Netlog, the Court of Justice of the European Union states that imposing filtering systems does not respect the fair balance between intellectual property rights and the right of personal data protection.

The “Ley Sinde”: a lost opportunity to regulate online entertainment in Spain.
Ercilia García Álvarez, Catedrática Facultad de Economía y Empresa Universidad Rovira i Virgili; Jordi López Sintas, Profesor Titular de Universidad Facultad de Economía y Empresa Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona; Sheila Sánchez Bergara, Estudiante de Doctorado de la Universidad Rovira i Virgili.

Recently, there have been new practices in online entertainment that carry with them new legal tensions and legal answers to these tensions (both at the academic and legislator levels). But these answers have not really fit reality or practice. History has shown that there is an unbalance or bias towards intellectual property right holders, and users are usually last in line.

The Spanish “Ley Sinde” has not solved any of these problems. There are neither changes in consumption or practices nor in business models.


8th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2012)

7th Internet, Law and Politics Congress (X). Right to be forgotten, data protection and privacy

Notes from the 7th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Net Neutrality and other challenges for the future of the Internet, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 11-12 July 2011. More notes on this event: idp2011.

Track on the Right to be forgotten, data protection and privacy
Chairs: Mònica Vilasau Solana, Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC)

Pere Simon Castellano
The constitutional regime of the right to oblivion in the Internet

It is the principle of consent the one that gives us the legitimacy to claim for a right to privacy or data protection.

Especially related to search engines (though not only) is the legality of a given content another important factor when claiming for our privacy rights or the right to be forgotten.

Jelena Burnik
Behavioural advertising in electronic communications. A benefit to electronic communication development and an intrusion of individual’s right to privacy and data protection

Behavioural advertising tracks Internet users’ activities online and delivers only relevant advertisements, based on the data collected and analysed over a given period of time. It is normally enabled by cookies, that are placed by websites or advertisements on websites.

Behavioural advertising is defended in the name of relevance of advertisements, enhanced user experience, precise segmentation and less money spent on non-relevant audiences, support to free Internet content and a driver of innovation.

But it is a controversial practice that requires a fair balance between the interests of the industry and the rights of individuals. As cookies assign a unique ID with an IP address, there can be concerns on data protection. On the other hand, cookies are normally placed in the computer by default, while maybe a debate on opt-in vs. opt-out of cookie placing and cookie-based tracking should be considered.

A new “cookie” European directive should aim at shifting from an opt-out principle to an opt-in one, and cookies being placed only under explicit user’s concern. But how is the technological solution for an opt-in cookie principle?

In the US, though, what seems to be more acknowledged is an enhanced opt-out model.

But only true opt-in provides for transparency, and self-regulation of the industry will not suffice.

María Concepción Torres Diaz
Privacy and tracking cookies. A constitutional approach.

It is worth noting the difference between privacy, intimacy and personal data. And cookies can harm privacy. So, users should get all necessary information on cookies and tracking so they can decide whether a specific behaviour puts at stake their privacy. In case the user decides to go on, explicit consent should be provided to the service to perform its tracking activity.

We have to acknowledge that new technologies will bring with them new rights and new threats to old rights. Thus, we should be aware of the new technologies so that the law does not fall behind.

Philipp E. Fischer; Rafael Ferraz Vazquez
Data transfer from Germany or Spain to third countries – Questions of civil liability for privacy rights infringement

There are data transfers at the international level continuously. If those data got “lost”, the operator might have incurred in privacy rights infringement.

The European Directive on data transmission, it has been established that there can be data transmission within the European Union (nationally or internationally) or with 3rd countries with adequate level of data protection. There still are some issues with the US and there are other countries which are simply banned from data transmission between them and member states.

Faye Fangfei Wang
Legal Feasibility for Statistical Methods on Internet as a Source of Data Gathering in the EU

Privacy protection steps: suitable safeguards, duty to inform prior to obtaining consent (transparency), consent, and enforcement. Request for concern should be looked at as a very important step towards privacy protection. Consent must be freely given and informed.

There is an exemption clause in the UK legislation, to be used when gathering some data is strictly necessary for a service to run, or for scientific purposes, etc. But the exception clause must be used legally.

Ricardo Morte Ferrer
The ADAMS database of the Anti Doping World Agency. Data protection problems

The ADAMS database stores whereabouts, reporting where a sportsman is during 3 months, for a daily time span from 6:00 to 23:00 and including a full daily 1h detailed report of their whereabouts. Instead of presuming innocence, this database kind of presumes guiltiness.

That is a lot of information and, being the holder an international agency based in Canada, a threat on data protection as it implies a continuous traffic of personal data internationally.

Inmaculada López-Barajas Perea
Privacy in the Internet and penal research: challenges in justice in a globalized society

The possibility that personal information of citizens can be retrieved, remotely, by law enforcement institutions, is it just the digital version of the usual (and completely legal) surveillance methodologies, or is it something new and something that threatens citizens’ privacy?

More information


7th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2011)