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Balancing freedom of expression and data protection

When:Tu 21-06-2022 15:00 - 17:00
Where:Marie Lokezaal, Harmonie building

The right to the protection of personal data is not an absolute right; it must be considered in relation to its function in society and be balanced against other fundamental rights, in accordance with the principle of proportionality.
Recital 4 GDPR

Join us in a roleplay for this balancing act based on real cases from Humanities on June the 21st.


More and more, researchers at the Faculty of Arts work with data that enforces them to think about the legal and ethical rules and regulations with regards to data protection. For instance, there might be personal data involved, or there might be copyright issues at stake. Are we able to recognize these challenges and more important, what insights do we have to weigh the different positions? The Digital Competence Centre (DCC) in close collaboration with the centre for Digital Humanities will offer an interactive, hands-on workshop that introduce real-life cases, including a multistakeholder roleplay. The aim of the two hour session is to help you become aware of the dilemma’s and take on an active role as a researcher early on in your research design.

The guiding principle for this afternoon is the new EU Copyright Directive which provides for an exception for Text-and Data Mining (TDM) on the copyright rules allowing researchers to make copies, as long as the access is lawful and the research is carried out with a public interest goal. Meanwhile, with careful balancing of fundamental rights article 85 of the GDPR allows processing personal data for academic expressions. Good practices to use these exceptions still need to be explored. That is why we will do this balancing act as a roleplay together, building on experiences with the Data Protection Impact Assessment roleplay.

Participants will receive an introduction to the case and a google doc to choose their role to prepare in the week before the roleplay.


15.00-15.15 Welcome and Introduction of the programme (Esther Hoorn, AJBZ)
Esther Hoorn is a COMENIUS Senior fellow for privacy in research: asking the right questions. She is an expert in legal advice on Data protection, Research Integrity and ethical assessment.

15.15-15.25 Case 1: Federico Pianzola will introduce his challenge as he is seeking advice on possible publication of datasets from collaborative research on digital social reading.
Federico Pianzola is Assistant Professor in Computational Humanities and an active researcher in the field of digital social reading.

15.25-15.40 Christina Elsenga will provide an assessment of options for restricted access, based on a legal assessment and a review of the data.
Christina Elsenga is consultant in research data management at the Digital Competence Centre.

15.40-15.55 Introduction to the case 2 by Susan Aasman about archiving personal data as ‘born-digital’ cultural heritage
Susan Aasman is professor in Digital Humanities and director of the CDH. She is a mediahistorian working with persona and private media archival materials.

15.55-16.10 break

16.10-16.40 Roleplay based on case 2 Archiving personal data as “born-digital’ cultural heritage

16.40-17.00 Reflection and discussion


Registration is required and free of charge.

This event is jointly organized by Christina Elsenga of the Digital Competence Centre, Susan Aasman and Federico Pianzola of the Centre for Digital Humanities and Esther Hoorn of the Department of Legal Affairs.