Privacy and Data Protection - Contemporary Challenges

Course Status: 
CEU code: 
LEGS 5134
CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
6 Apr 2010 - 29 Apr 2010
Co-hosting Unit(s) [if applicable]: 
Department of Legal Studies
Judit Sandor

This course provides an introduction to different concepts of privacy from comparative legal aspects. The legal scope of the right to privacy is highly contested and was interpreted differently by scholars such as Louis Brandeis, Sisela Bok, Amitai Etzioni or by Richard Posner. According to one of the most widely recognized concepts by Alan Westin privacy can be regarded as the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others. Now it is often stated that we can no longer guarantee privacy under the present technological and security challenges. True, after 9/11, the issues of security and privacy are reconsidered in a new transnational political context. Numerous legal instruments have been implemented to respond to this challenge both in the United States and within the territory of the European Union – such as the Prüm Treaty with the aim to enhance international cooperation in combating terrorism and cross-border crime. The course shall provide a critical analysis of these challenges. The Data Protection Directive of the European Union is one of the most significant developments in privacy law. However, the widespread application of security-sensitive technologies – such as fingerprinting, systematic collection and processing of the human DNA samples, the introduction of biometric identifiers and intelligent implants – also pose new threats to privacy.

The course also includes the discussion of recent efforts to extend privacy principles in order to respond to the challenges the ever expanding internet and the rapid biotechnological advances pose. Both fields require special consideration with regard to transnational data transfer.

The detailed syllabus is based on the analysis of selected legal texts, cases from American jurisprudence and from European countries.