To my work as a lawyer, I wanted to add that of research, combining legal skills with technical ones; it is not simple; indeed, it is very demanding.It is necessary to always keep in mind that researchers must conduct any research activity with scientific rigour and based on objective elements, without neglecting any other contributions already published.
The in-depth study phase of research topics is particularly tricky as it is necessary to always pay maximum attention to the object of the analysis and to the aspects that are intended to be highlighted.
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The most crucial challenge is to try to combine the legal-regulatory profiles with those that are more purely technical, proposing possible solutions to the outcome of an evaluation of possible hypotheses of compliance with the current legislation. More specifically, about the protection of personal data, it is well-known that the regulatory reference in Europe is the EU Regulation 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR), but in international contexts, it is also necessary to evaluate any existing legislation in other Countries.
The approach to the protection of personal data does not always correspond to one’s of non-EU countries. About the USA, for example, it is customary to address the issue in terms of Data Privacy and Protection, almost as if privacy is the dominant element concerning the protection of personal data.
Europe is undoubtedly ahead both with the GDPR and with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. However, the reference to Convention 108, signed by many non-EU countries, should not be overlooked. In international contexts, rather than proposing conclusions with references to specific norms of the GDPR or other laws, I usually prefer to proceed from more general aspects that express universally recognised principles especially on the value of personal data and on direct or indirect effects on the natural person. All this, of course, unless it is necessary to refer to specific standards.
The discussion on these issues in international contexts is not always easy as we need to consider the impact of the ideas proposed on different cultures and different professionalisms. Very often, the comparison on Privacy and Data Protection is with professionals and researchers who have a technical background and who do not always appreciate the approach of jurists, especially when they want to refer only to technical standards (e.g. ISO rules).
Technical standards are valid surely but, in certain cases, the organisation during the editing phase should acquire opinions by jurists. Sometimes, these standards express methodologies that are valid only for the technology sector and are not always compatible with the legal principles or the current regulations. Hence, it is necessary to find the right balance, and it is not simple. At other times, people do not refer to the “mother” rule, the matrix one, from which a specific ISO standard derives, thinking to apply the new ISO standard anyway and it could be wrong.
Therefore, the technical standards are a valid contribution to the in-depth study of the issues concerning the protection of personal data and privacy but we cannot consider them as essential. The balance of my research activities carried out so far is undoubtedly positive and constitutes a reason for cultural and professional enrichment. Comparison and sharing with scientists and researchers from other countries is undoubtedly an added value; the not few opportunities for discussion, during international conferences, allowed me to explore new, innovative and very particular themes.
The debate and the serene dialectical exchange with high-profile researchers also offered me the opportunity to appreciate the multidisciplinary approach to which one is probably not accustomed when the analyses are focused solely within one’s professional context. Listening to researchers on topics that are distant from those you are dealing with may seem useless but, on the contrary, it is crucial as you have the possibility of acquiring valid ideas for your activities and possibly starting a comparison.
I am certain that I have been greatly enriched by the international occasions in which I have been involved, receiving, in some cases, appreciations of which I am immensely honoured, such as those of Prof. Edson Prestes, chair of the IEEE Working Group on Ontological Standard for Ethically Driven Robotics and Automation Systems and of Prof. Nagib Callaos founder and chair of the International Institute of Informatics and Systemics (IIIS) - USA.