UCL Faculty of Laws


In-Person | Effective or Complete Data Protection

02 February 2023, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

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This lecture will be delivered by Dr Orla Lynskey, as part of the Current Legal Problems Lecture Series 2022-23

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Speaker: Dr Orla Lynskey (LSE Law School)
Chair: European Data Protection Supervisor, Wojciech Wiewiórowski

About the lecture

Data protection law acts as the first line of defence for our fundamental rights in digital society. As our daily interactions generate more data, implicating and jeopardising our rights further, the response of the law has been to cast the net of data protection law wider. In the EU, the Court of Justice has interpreted key data protection concepts expansively to promote the “effective and complete protection” of individuals. The result is a legal framework where everything is personal data and everyone responsible for its application. Regulators struggle to enforce the law while regulates are often unaware of their compliance obligations or unable to meet them, calling into question the administrability and legitimacy of the law. Judicial attempts to smooth the cracks of this expansive reach have further exacerbated the problem. The conclusion is that data protection law can be effective or complete, but not both. This requires us to think afresh about the way in which the law responds to the fundamental rights challenges posed by digital data processing.

About the speaker

Orla Lynskey is an Associate Professor at the LSE Law School and a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges. Orla's research interests lie broadly in technology regulation, digital rights and EU law. She is the author of The Foundations of EU Data Protection Law (OUP, 2015) which explores the normative underpinnings of the European data protection framework. Her subsequent work has focused on structural impediments to the effective protection of digital rights, with a particular focus on platform governance and the interplay between data protection and competition laws. Orla is an Editor of the specialist journal International Data Privacy Law (OUP) and a member of the Modern Law Review Editorial Committee. She holds law degrees from Trinity College Dublin, the College of Europe and the University of Cambridge.  

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