Institute of Brand and Innovation Law


Privacy Online and Offline: The Citizen, the Personal and the Public Interest

23 January 2017–24 January 2017, 9:00 am–6:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



UCL Institute of Brand and Innovation Law (IBIL)



Certain rights and freedoms are granted to citizens in respect of their privacy and the protection of their personal information.  But, on this crowded planet, and in a global marketplace, what rights do citizens actually have to take action against surveillance?  By drone, by a neighbour, employer or suspicious spouse?  By Government or by multi-national corporations?

How effective are laws in protecting personal data?  Digital communications and data are stored and transported across jurisdictions where protection levels vary.  Is the gathering and remote analysis of the metadata lawful?

To what extent can reputations be protected in the age of 24 hour global news and the internet?

We expect our governments to respond to real security threats to society.  How much of our privacy will we, should we, sacrifice to keep us safe?  What takes precedence: state security or citizens’ privacy?    And our Governments ask for more and more transparency from their citizens in order to protect us.  At the same time they have the capacity to shield their activities from genuine democratic scrutiny.  Uncontrolled disclosures such as the NSA Snowden release and Wikileaks are examples of responses by individuals to the increased scrutiny of our lives.  But such disclosures are themselves unlawful and undemocratic, carrying their own dangers.   Can we balance greater personal transparency with greater transparency from those we elect?