Big Data, Human Rights and Human Security

2019-2020

Course Objective

At the end of this course, students are expected to be able to:
1. Map an overview of the main sources of EU and international data
protection law;
2. Apply the principles of data protection law to the use of big data
and modern technologies in each of the three human rights and human
security fields discussed in the course;
3. Identify and explain weaknesses and gaps in the international and EU
legal framework regulating data protection and privacy and other
fundamental rights such as procedural justice, when it comes to the use
of big data and new technologies to address threats to human security;
4. Contribute to the academic and public debate as to whether and to
what extent legal responses to human security threats are undergoing a
fundamental shift through the use of modern technologies;
5. To write a well-structured and well-argued legal analysis on the use
of big data and modern technologies in the domains discussed in the
course.

Course Content

The question addressed in this course is how digital technologies and
big data are used to make decisions in human rights and security
domains, and how these uses require us to rethink the basic tenets of
existing legal norms and practices. The course focuses on three human
rights and security domains in particular: big data and social and
criminal justice; the use of digital technologies in warfare and the
fight against terrorism; and the use of technology in border management
and migration law. Students will become familiar with the legal
framework regulating the collection, use and analysis of big data, and
the storage and exchange of personal data through the use of digital
technologies. For this purpose, they will be introduced to EU and
international laws on privacy and data protection, and these laws will
be fleshed out with regard to the three case studies.
Data privacy laws can serve as tools to focus microscopically on the
ways in which the use of big data and digital technologies pose
challenges to individual rights, and clarify possible remedies for these
challenges (for example by de-identifying data, foregrounding the
question of consent to the collection, use, or disclosure of the data,
or through the concept of purpose limitation). Students will learn how
to apply the principles of data protection laws in the three human
rights and security domains, and become aware of the particular problems
that feature in these particular domains. But through the case studies,
the course will also require students to reflect on the more fundamental
question as to what extent legal responses to human security threats are
undergoing a fundamental shift through the use of modern technologies.
Thus, it has been argued that these technologies facilitate a
“fundamental jurisprudential shift from our current ex post facto system
of penalties and punishments to ex ante preventative measures that are
increasingly being adopted across various sectors of society.” Whether
such a shift to from individual justice to so-called actuarial justice
is currently taking place will be discussed through looking at diverse
fields such as predictive policing, the use of smart city technology for
crowd control and surveillance, the use of big data and algorithmic
decision-making for tracking, capturing, killing or blacklisting
suspected terrorists, and the use of modern technologies in the
implementation of border and immigration policies.

Teaching Methods

The course will be delivered through seminars. Students are expected to
read the required materials beforehand, prepare assignments before each
class, and to actively participate in the discussion.

Method of Assessment

Paper, peer review and presentation.

Literature

To be announced on CANVAS.

General Information

Course Code R_BDHR
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator dr. G.N. Cornelisse
Examiner dr. G.N. Cornelisse
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: