Seminar Series Fundamental Rights and Surveillance

Dipartimento SPGI e on line

Dal 22.05.2023 al 05.06.2023


Scientific coordinator: Daniele Ruggiu, University of Padua
Course Fundamental rights and surveillance
Master Course in European and Global Studies (EGOS)


22th May 2023, 2:30 PM | Room D, Ca' Dottori
Surveillance outsourcing: what gatekeepers for individual rights in the public/private partnership
Mariavittoria Catanzariti (European University Institute)

The talk will explore emerging debates as well as relevant CJEU and ECHR case law in the field of mass surveillance with special focus on the side of individual rights (se preferisci human rights or fundamental rights). In particular, it will focus on the competitive and cooperative forms of interaction between private and public actors in various areas of the law - namely, security and intelligence information sharing - seeking to strike a balance on the impact of IT and AI upon private sector data capacity of data control, individual rights and state powers in the international order.

1st June 2023, 2:30 PM | Room A, Ca' Dottori
Guido Gorgoni (Università di Padova)
Identity and digital citizenship

As embodied subjects of experience in the physical world, we inhabit cyberspace as «dividuals» composed of fragmented and dispersed data as a result of the operations performed by algorithms on (big) data (matching, profiling etc.) (Raley 2013). Within the «algorithmic society», that is «a society organized around social and economic decision-making by algorithms, robots, and Al agents, who not only make the decisions but also, in some cases, carry them out» (Balkin 2017) the intersubjective process of identity building is replaced by a algorithmic processes so that «there is no single, static sense of us but rather an untold number of competing, modulating interpretations of data that make up who we are» (Cheney-Lippold 2017: 35). This alters the fundamental ethical and political anthropology of our times: «when individuals are replaced by dividuals, the categories of identity that we normally think of as politically owned by us, like gender, race, and citizenship [...] become nonlinearly connected to an endless array of algorithmic meaning, like web use and behavior data» (Cheney-Lippold 2017: 42). In order to react to this situation some authors invoked the fundamental incomputable nature of the Self, by explicitly relying on the distinction proposed by Ricoeur between identity-idem and identity-ipse, arguing that the meaning of the contemporary privacy idea shall be oriented towards the protection of this latter (Hildebrandt 2019). The focus of this article will be on the integration between the performative theory of digital citizenship proposed by Isin and Ruppert (2015; 2020) and the reflections on the subject of rights and responsibility proposed by Paul Ricoeur (2000; 2005). Whilst the former theory aims at resignifying digital citizens as political subjects of cyberspace, in particular asserting that it is by claiming rights that 4 we enact ourselves as digital citizens, in the latter the figure of an active and engaged legal subject emerges. I think that the two theoretical contributions, despite their different approaches, may interestingly complement each other. In particular I will argue that the implications of Isin and Ruppert's theory of digital citizenship are well complemented by Ricoeur's theory of the legal subject; reciprocally, the performative theory of (digital) citizenship proposed by the two authors does represent in its turn a pertinent reference for the theory of the Self constituted as a responsible subject of rights proposed by Ricoeur.


5th June 2023, 2:30 PM | Room D, Ca' Dottori
The protection of personal data and the Cambridge Analytica case
Michele De Zen (Data protection Specialist, Gruppo Cassa Centrale Banca)

Following the discovery of the "Cambridge Analytica" scandal, it emerged that starting from a personality questionnaire circulated on Facebook among a few hundred thousand people, it was possible to profile as many as 87 million people in the world and to influence thanks to this immense collection given the 2016 US election that led to the Trump presidency and the Brexit referendum. Therefore, today as never before, the protection of personal data is strategic for the defense of some fundamental values that are at the heart of liberal-democratic societies: the political freedoms of citizens and the free democratic life of a country. One wonders whether with the entry into force of the GDPR an adequate barrier has been placed against the excesses of today's digital economies. We will discuss this and more together with Michele De Zen and Daniele Ruggiu.


The Seminar Series will be avaible also on line