Professor Pascale Chapdelaine takes up research fellowship to explore regulation of big data

This fall, Professor Pascale Chapdelaine is assuming the role of research fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, located in Berlin, Germany.

Named for the German-American computer science pioneer Joseph Weizenbaum, the institute conducts interdisciplinary and fundamental research into the change in society due to digitization and develops design options for politics, business, and civil society. According to its website, the institute combines interdisciplinary problem-oriented basic research with the exploration of concrete solutions and the dialogue with society.

Dr. Chapdelaine​ joins its working group “Frameworks for Data Markets.” The group’s research focuses on the functioning of digital markets as well as the opportunities and risks of data trading from a legal, psychological and economic perspective. This includes questions of private autonomy in the area of ​​tension between data protection and contract law, data rights, and cognitive and emotional-motivational dynamic processes that underlie the disclosure of personal data.

Chapdelaine says she is “thrilled” to be working with scholars who are experts from various disciplines about personal data governance and regulation.

“The pandemic brings the reality of the networked society to unprecedented levels — allowing us to weather the storm in times of confinement also means an intensification of collection of personal data in all spheres of our lives,” she says. “Such concentration of personal data is an extremely powerful resource that requires proper handling and care.”

She hopes to use her time at the institute to build longer-term cross-Atlantic relationships for future research projects: “Sharing knowledge and various perspectives about personal data regulation will hopefully lead to its improvement.”

Here in Windsor, Chapdelaine’s research looks at the interaction between intellectual property, property and contracts, and consumer and privacy law, as they relate to emerging technologies, business processes, media, and platforms.

Her book Copyright User Rights, Contracts and the Erosion of Property, published by Oxford University Press in 2017, explores the rights users have to works protected by copyright (e.g. books, software, music, films) in an ever-changing technological environment.

During her time at the institute, Chapdelaine will pursue her research on the regulation of algorithms and big data in e-commerce from a privacy and consumer protection perspective, considering various regulatory frameworks and how they may be applied in Canada. More particularly, she will continue her work on the legality of algorithmic personalized pricing and on defining personal data subject rights.

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