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How to find us prof. dr. J.A. (Joseph / a.k.a. Joe) Cannataci

prof. dr. J.A. Cannataci

Chair in European Information Policy & Technology Law
prof. dr. J.A. Cannataci

Joe Cannataci studied law at the University of Malta and the University of Oslo. He later qualified in the UK as a Chartered Information Technology Professional and also holds Chartered Fellowship of the British Computer Society. He received a Doctor of Laws degree (LLD) from the University of Malta in 1986 with a thesis on privacy and data protection law published by the Norwegian University Press in 1987. Joe was T54 Project Director at the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law during 1986-1987 before he joined the Department of Public Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Malta, where in 1988 he established the Law & IT Research Unit (LITRU). In 2006 he was appointed Professor of Law at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in the United Kingdom. Between 2006 and 2007 he was Head of Lancashire Law School and from 2007-to 2011 he was Director of the Centre for Law, Information & Converging Technologies at UCLAN. In 2011 he was appointed Head of the Department of Information Policy & Governance at the Faculty of Media & Knowledge Sciences of the University of Malta and also Chair of European Information Policy & Technology Law within the Faculty of Law at the University of Groningen. He is addiitonally Adjunct Professor at the Security Research Centre, School of Computer and Security Science at Edith Cowan University Australia



While originally - and still principally - a specialist in information policy and technology law, for the past several years Joe has also been researching and carrying out fieldwork on the impact of ICT and the notion of privacy amongst indigenous peoples within Kenya (Ogiek, Samburu,, Turkana), since expanding this work to Australia, Brazil and Malaysia. Some of this work has evolved as part of the process of development of technology policy in emerging economies, with particular focus on India and Kenya   where he led the efforts to take into account the privacy needs and information traditions of indigenous peoples. This work continues to be taken forward within the PAPAC-PACIT projects.


A considerable deal of Joe’s time is dedicated to collaborative research. (See separate section on Research – follow link on top left of page) while he also continues to act as Expert Consultant to a number of international organisations. During 2012 he was engaged by the Council of Europe to develop  a concept paper on the application of data protection regulations in relation to transborder private/public information sharing for (a) network security purposes and (b) criminal justice purposes. For the period 2013-2016, he is a domain-expert as well as a member of the Management Committee of the EU-funded COST ICT 1206 Project “De-identification for privacy protection in multimedia content”. In 2010 Joe was External Consultant for the Impact Assessment of policy options for data protection law in Europe contracted by the European Commission to GHK International. During 2010, he was also Expert Consultant engaged by Council of Europe’s Consultative Committee (T-PD) and Directorate for Legal Affairs and Human Rights to review provisions of the European Data Protection Convention and Recommendation (R(87)15 on police use of personal data.


He has written books and articles on data protection law, liability for expert systems, legal aspects of medical informatics, copyright in computer software and co-authored various papers and textbook chapters on self-regulation and the Internet, the EU Constitution and data protection, on-line dispute resolution, data retention and police data.


Joe is a member of the Executive of the British & Irish Law, Education & Technology Association (BILETA), the International Advisory Board of the International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, the Editorial Board of the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology and  the Comitato Scientifico della "Rivista di Diritto, Economia e Gestione delle Nuove Tecnologie".


In 2005 he was decorated by the Republic of France and elevated to Officier dans l’ordre des palmes académiques His pioneering role in the development of technology law and especially privacy law was cited as one of the main reasons for his being made the recipient of such an honour as was his contribution to the development of European information policy. In 1993 Joe was Rapporteur on the use of personal data for Police Purposes to the Project Group on Data Protection of the Council of Europe. He was Chairman of several Committees of Experts of the Council of Europe:  MedialLex (1994),  the Working Party on Data Protection in Insurance (1994-1997), Working Party on Data Protection in New technologies (1995-2000), the Committee of Experts on Data Protection (1996-98) and Vice-Chairman of the Group of Specialists on the impact of New Communications Technologies on Fundamental Rights & Democratic Values (1999-2001).


While Joe has been in academic life without a break since 1986, he has also maintained first a part-time presence as an IT lawyer  involved in international practice in the B2B legal aspects of new technologies including drafting and negotiating  IT Project contracts, hardware and software, sales and licensing contracts and various IP-related issues including source code agreements. He is currently a UDRP Panelist of the Czech Arbitration Court where, utilizing On-line Dispute Resolution (ODR) methodologies, he was amongst the first “on-line judges” to deliver decisions in disputes on .eu Top Level Domain names


His experience in the business sector and academic management has not been confined to law. Between 1992 and 1996 he was consultant to and subsequently Chairman of the IT Steering Committee for Malta’s largest bank (today HSBC). During 1998-1999, he led a team from the Centre for Communication Technology of the University of Malta in a national project on “Redefining the role of public broadcasting in Malta” commissioned by the Minister of Education, Media & Culture. Between 2000 and 2002, he was the Project Director entrusted with kick-starting the 5-campus Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, which is now responsible for FE provision to some 5,000 students. Between 2001 and 2002 he was a member of the IT Steering Committee responsible for the successful implementation of  ORACLE Financials within the national carrier Air Malta. During 2002-2005 he was Project Director for the multi-million Euro IKONOS project where he designed and implemented a Satellite-enabled Wide Area Network for distance learning in cultural heritage across Algeria, Jordan, Greece, Malta, Morocco, and the Netherlands.


Joe is as passionate about history, education and cultural heritage as he is about law and information sciences. A committee member and later Treasurer of the Malta Historical Society (1978-1985), he was appointed by the Council of the University of Malta as (founding) Chairman of the Malta Centre for Restoration for two terms between 1999 and 2005 where he established the Institute for Conservation and Restoration Studies. His publications during this period include papers on the Philosophy of Conservation Education, Thealasermetry and the use of hybrid technologies to survey heritage sites and e-heritage.  He was a Trustee of the Foundation for Cultural Heritage Memory established by Maltacom to use technological means to preserve and facilitate access to parts of our heritage such a music, images and oral tradition. He maintains his sanity and a sense of humour by forming part of cultural heritage conservation teams together with colleagues from Czech Republic, Italy, Romania and the UK engaged in field-work around the world. 

Laatst gewijzigd:12 juni 2014 15:57

Contact information

Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26
9712 EK Groningen
The Netherlands