Location data and human mobility : an evaluation of a dissonance that frames data protection and privacy rights
Title: Location data and human mobility : an evaluation of a dissonance that frames data protection and privacy rights
Author: ANDREW, Jonathan
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2018
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Law
With citizens’ movements mediated by many technologies that aid our navigation the potential for omnipresent surveillance may potentially institute fundamental changes to the human condition. Locational privacy is pivotal in developing inter-personal associations and relational ties with others and its function is therefore complex, rather than solely affording a degree of independence from the observations made by others. In this respect, a more nuanced understanding of the utility of location data is required; the current hierarchy that delineates personal data from special categories of personal data does not adequately appreciate the capacity for location data to act as a proxy for other sensitive personal data. Furthermore, the binary distinction that reflects the conceptualisation of the right to privacy as a negative right, with related concepts such as identity and personality formation viewed as positive constructs, is increasingly difficult a notion to preserve. The classification and terminology of technologies can illustrate how terms and legal metaphors are developed and applied so as to bridge gaps in applying existing context and precedent. Though the designation ‘location data’ once constituted a reasonable accommodation in nomenclature as an intelligible and easily comprehensible term, even while constituting a significant oversimplification of the data it represented, technological advances have rendered the term increasingly problematic. This study asks whether the existing legal framework at the regional level in Europe is apt to provide sufficiently cogent and coherent regulation given recent developments in technologies. The review analyses the risks associated with this predilection in data processing activities that allows for the identification of ever more intimate and nuanced details of a citizen’s life, behaviours and convictions through the analysis of their location data; in turn, it shall discern the necessity of considering the resulting impacts on citizens’ fundamental rights to privacy and personal data protection.
Defence date: 09 February 2018; Examining Board: Professor Deirdre Curtin, European University Institute; Professor Emeritus Marise Cremona, European University Institute; Professor Julia Hörnle, Queen Mary University of London; Professor Claudia Diaz, KU Leuven
Type of Access: openAccess