Archive for 2017

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[ecrea] International Workshop on the Fate of Post-Mortem Personal Data

Wed Jan 04 08:29:47 GMT 2017

    International Workshop on the Fate of Post-Mortem Personal Data
    (Friday the 13th of January, 2017)


Profiles compiled from scattered digital footprints left by the user on the Internet shape the outline of digital identities. While the Internet user is alive, he remains in charge of managing these identities, with the help of digital privacy law. Yet as civil rights befall the living, these data protection rights, as such, fall as his death occurs. It therefore comes as no surprise that the recently adopted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) explicitly states it is not going to apply to data linked to dead data subjects. Therefore, there is lack of supranationally harmonised post- mortem personal data protection rules.

Profiles and digital footprints survive deceased Internet users. For example, in social networks, it is not rare to see the profile of a dead person that keeps interacting with those of living users. Such cases are to become increasingly frequent as Internet users grow old, explaining why several initiatives took place in various countries to tackle this issue.

A federal legal framework was recently adopted in the United States of America, in the form of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which gives fiduciaries access to certain categories of data such as files, domain names, virtual money, while at the same time limiting access to electronic communications and social network accounts in order to protect the dead person’s privacy. In Bulgaria, the Law recognises that heirs may exercise data protection related rights on the deceased person’s data. In Hungary, the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information has recently published a recommendation advising the Parliament to adopt legislation on the matter. In France, the recently adopted Digital Republic Act comprises a provision aiming at inscribing a new paragraph in section 40 of the Data Protection Act, stating that : “Any person can define one’s directives regarding the preservation, erasure and disclosure of one’s personal data after one’s death”.

Some social networks, like Facebook, have set up procedures to transform accounts into memorial pages. The difficulty for such operators lies not only in getting the right perception of emerging customs and social norms related to digital death in order to offer socially adequate and acceptable solutions, but also in the scattered and potentially contradictory nature of regulation on this specific issue.

The aim of the ENEID project <> is to study these issues. It is financed by the National Research Agency, and is composed by the MCPN team of the CIM research unit of the University Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris-III, and the EPIN team of the COSTECH research unit of the University of Technology of Compiègne, as well as some individual researchers from the University of Paris 13.

This workshop is structured around the ENEID project. Its primary goal is to discuss the various issues surrounding digital eternity, and to provide space for a dialogue between the project’s research results and that of other academics and professionnals like Data Protection Officers. It is our hope that such a discussion will help the establishment of a multidisciplinary and European community of academics and professionals studying the issue of post-mortem personal data privacy.

      Provisional program

9h00 : Registration

9h30-9h45 : Opening speech

9h45 : Presentations by members of the ENEID research project <> on post-mortem digital identities (moderated by Dr. Cléo Collomb)

  * Dr. Fanny Georges : Introduction
  * Dr. Nelly Quenemer : Exhibiting privacy. The media coverage of
    celebrities’ death in France
  * Dr. Virginie Julliard : The production of post mortem digital
    identities on Facebook
  * Dr. Hélène Bourdeloie : The future of one’s on-line digital traces.
    On the results of a study on on-line behaviours and digital eternities

11h15 : The legal aspects of post-mortem privacy

  * Dr. Lucien Castex : The protection of post-mortem data : from
    identity to property rights
  * Edina Harbinja : Post-mortem Privacy 2.0 : (Re)conceptualising the
  * Pr. Dr. Lilian Edwards : Against Digital Post Mortem Privacy ?

12h45-14h : Lunch break

14h-14h45 : Dr. Attila Péterfalvi : Post-Mortem Data Privacy in the Experience of the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information

14h45-15h15 : Sophie Nerbonne, Head of Compliance at the CNIL (time of presentation subject to possible change)

15h20-16h00 : Data Protection Officers Panel, in partnership with the French National DPO Association (AFCDP) : Amandine Delsuc and Garance Mathias

16h-16h15 : Conclusions on the legal aspects of post-mortem data privacy

16h15-16h30 : Coffee break

16h30 - 18h : Concluding workshop

      Practical information


The conference will be held at the Institute for Communication Sciences <> (ISCC) in Paris, on Friday the 13th of January, 2017.

*Free registration*

To register: (virginie.julliard /at/ <mailto:(virginie.julliard /at/> or

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