Regulating Personalization in the European Union

Regulating Personalization in the European Union

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Free

Date and time

Location

Roeterseilandcampus

11 Roetersstraat

1018 WB Amsterdam

Netherlands

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Insights at the crossroads of private law, consumer protection, and contracts.

About this event

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Nowadays, the majority of online interactions is based on users’ profiling, and individuals’ data is increasingly used as a tool to elaborate and deliver personalized messages, products and services while they are surfing on the internet. Platforms can personalize different aspects of users’ experience, ranging from what users can observe on the web, the modes of the offers, the features and the prices of products that are presented to them.

In general terms, there is consensus that these practices can be welfare enhancing if properly regulated. At the same time, risks related to unregulated abuse of personalized commercial practices are present and significant: using personalizing technologies to match individual users to target audiences and even to create predictive profiles might result, inter alia, in violation of users’ data protection and privacy, unjust discrimination based on the analysis of protected factors, manipulation of users’ decision-making, and exploitation of vulnerabilities. In addition, it is unclear if, and under which conditions, personalized practices could impact on individuals’ capacity to develop their preferences consciously and autonomously, therefore undermining their autonomy and self-determination.

These risks operate at the crossroads of different interests and rights related to individuals and to markets as a whole; it is no surprise, therefore, that in recent times profiling and micro- targeting came at the center of the scholarly and regulatory debate. Inter alia, the capability of data protection law, competition law, consumer law, and private law as efficient modes of regulation has been thoroughly inspected. Still, despite their ubiquity, personalization algorithms and the associated large-scale collection of personal data still largely escape public scrutiny, and a sound policy agenda for the regulation of personalized interactions does not seem to be found.

The conference – organized with the support of the Amsterdam Center for Transformative Private Law (ACT) and the European Commission – will explore practices that illustrate the promises and perils of online personalization as a result of the widespread use of emerging technologies in order to identify potential regulatory cornerstones to address personalizing techniques. This way, the event will create a medium for discussion on how to establish a conceptual regulatory framework in the face of systematic involvement of personalization into contemporary society.

Confirmed speakers include: Christoph Busch (University of Osnabrück); Mateja Durovic (King’s College of London); Catalina Goanta (Utrecht University); Inge Graef (Tilburg University); Hans Grigoleit (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München); Natali Helberger (University of Amsterdam); Mireille Hildebrandt (Radboud University); Candida Leone (University of Amsterdam); Joasia Luzak (University of Exeter); Vanessa Mak (Leiden University); Karin Sein (University of Tartu); Eric Tjong Tjin Tai (Tilburg University).

The conference will be held on site at the University of Amsterdam. If the pandemic conditions will not allow for an onsite event, an online organization will be alternatively arranged.

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