[Air-L] Data access progress in Europe

Sarah Ann Oates soates at umd.edu
Fri Dec 4 06:49:59 PST 2020

This is very hopeful news. And this might seem perhaps a naive question,
but if Europe allows researchers to access data can U.S.-based researchers
use this as a vector in to worldwide data (i.e. on platforms such as
Facebook?). In particular, as I know that geotagging is minimal on many
platforms, if this is ethically open in Europe, does this open it for
researchers globally?

Sarah Oates
Pronoun: she/her

Professor and Senior Scholar
Philip Merrill College of Journalism
University of Maryland
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Email: soates at umd.edu
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On Fri, Dec 4, 2020 at 7:59 AM Tromble, Rebekah via Air-L <
air-l at listserv.aoir.org> wrote:

> Dear colleagues,
> I wanted to share some good news coming out of Europe regarding digital
> platform data access efforts.
> Last week the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) announced its plans
> to set up a working group focused on access to digital platform data for
> research (
> https://edmo.eu/2020/11/24/call-for-comment-on-gdpr-article-40-working-group/
> ).
> The intention is to develop a Code of Conduct under GDPR's Article 40 that
> will lay out privacy-compliant processes for data access and in turn
> create much greater clarity on the issue for platforms, researchers, and
> regulators alike.
> And in its just-released European Democracy Action Plan (
> https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/edap_communication.pdf), the
> European Commission has put its considerable weight behind platform
> accountability and data access efforts. In a key passage (see section 4.2),
> the Commission explicitly states that "the GDPR does not a priori and
> across the board prohibit the sharing of personal data by platforms with
> researchers." This is intended as a (carefully-worded) rebuke to the
> platforms' claims that GDPR prevents them from sharing data with our
> community. In the same passage the Commission also embraces EDMO's plans to
> develop a framework for "data disclosure" (i.e., the above-mentioned plans
> for a Code of Conduct). You should also keep your eye out for the Digital
> Services Act to bolster all of this next week.
> Though there's still much work to be done, these developments represent a
> hard-fought and significant step forward. With the Commission's support, we
> have a much better chance of achieving responsible, ethical access to
> digital platform data for research--and ultimately, for greater platform
> accountability.
> But with the work ahead in mind, I would highly value any input you might
> wish to share during the month-long consultation period established by EDMO
> ahead of its launch of the working group. (Again, see
> https://edmo.eu/2020/11/24/call-for-comment-on-gdpr-article-40-working-group/
> ).
> This includes expressions of interest in participating in the working group
> itself. Comments should be sent to the following email address (
> edmo at eui.eu).
> However, I am also happy to field questions, should you have them.
> Rebekah
> Dr. Rebekah Tromble
> Director, Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics, George Washington
> University |
> Associate Professor, School of Media & Public Affairs, George Washington
> University |
> Visiting Researcher, The Alan Turing Institute (London) |
> www.rebekahtromble.net
> iddp.gwu.edu
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