Boris Rotenberg - IS Unit of DG JRC-IPTS, European Commission
*EU Data Protection and Privacy Laws: Implications on the Development ofSearch Engines*
Given the proliferation of information in the digitally connectedsociety, search and informationretrieval logically take centre stage. Recently, however, search engineproviders have been confrontedwith a series of significant legal issues that may well hamper thattrend, the last of which concerns searchprivacy and data protection. Specifically, the question arises whetherthe logging of user data by searchengine providers is in compliance with existing EU data protection anddata retention obligations, and moregenerally, whether search engine regulation is in line with thefundamental right to protection of private life.This talk will a fresh look at that issue and considers the potentialimpact of data protection and privacy lawson the development of a thriving European search engine market. It willstart with a brief overview of searchtechnology and describe the manner in which search engines profile aswell as the commercial and otherreasons behind these profiling activities. Subsequently, we will reviewrecent high profile cases in theUS (COPA, AOL) and EU (WP 29 debate), discuss the likely application ofcurrent legal regulatory obligationsto search engines, and consider the response of search engines both interms of technological change as wellas proposals to amend existing legal regulation. Finally, we will embarkon a fully-fledged analysis of the broaderpolicy implications.This issue is significant for search engines since it may determine thenear future of search engine technology.But it is equally of major importance for data protection regulationsince its application in the search enginecontext is likely to have major repercussions also beyond the searchengine sector.
Boris Rotenberg is a postdoctoral researcher in the IS Unit of DGJRC-IPTS, European Commission. At the moment, his research focuses mainly on the application ofEuropean fundamental rights (i.e. freedom of expression, data protection, good administration) tothe digital environment. Specific fields of interest include digital identity, search engines,communications and media policy, and geographic information systems. Prior to joining IPTS, he was aBAEF visiting fellow with Yale Law School´s Information Society Project, a post-doctoral Global EmileNoël fellow at NYU Law School, and a doctoral visiting scholar with Columbia Law School. Boris earneda law degree from the University of Leuven, Belgium (1999); read for a Magister Juris (LL.M.) degree atBrasenose College, Oxford (2000); and obtained the Ph.D. in law from the European University Institute,Florence (2005).