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Research to practice

The work of the SSC fuses theoretical and empirical research with public

policy and has clear social justice and civil liberty implications for global

citizens. In Canada, their findings have informed decision making

processes and have been put into practice to protect and enhance the

civil liberties and freedoms of all Canadians; for example, SSC

researchers have worked with policy, legal and human rights groups to

highlight privacy, human rights and social sorting issues.

Collaborative work includes providing reports on topics such as camera

and drone surveillance and the impact of their implementation on

Canadians to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (Toronto) and

the Federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner (Ottawa). Research has

been undertaken on national identity cards for the International Civil

Liberties Monitoring Group (Ottawa), and discussions have taken place

regarding risk assessment, airport security and safety of travellers’ data

for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority roundtable. The SSC is

committed to making the results of their research on surveillance and

data collection visible to governments, policy makers, NGOs and the

wider public.

Most notably, ‘Transparent Lives: Surveillance in

Canada’, co-edited by Colin Bennett, Kevin

Haggerty, David Lyon and Valerie Steeves and

published in 2014, represents the culmination of

the New Transparency project and is an

accessible analysis of some key surveillance

trends illustrated with Canadian examples. The

work explains how surveillance expands into

every facet of our lives, outlining key trends in

the processing of personal data by government

and private sector organisations, and raises

urgent questions about privacy and social justice.

The SSC has also partnered with agencies such

as the Canadian federal and provincial privacy

commissions. It has also joined forces with civil

liberties organisations such as the International

Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, human rights

bodies such as the British Columbia Civil

Liberties Association, and internet advocacy

groups, notably OpenMedia.

Attracting top students

The research output and international

reputation of the SSC has attracted graduate

students and postdoctoral fellows from around

the globe, not least because it refers to events

and processes that appear daily in the mass

media. Yet another influential factor is that the

centre offers opportunities for research with

implications for policy and regulation.

The work of students and postdoctoral fellows

is vital to the centre; for example, one of the first

publications to theorise Facebook surveillance

was based on the PhD thesis of an SSC student

– Daniel Trottier. The SSC provides opportunities

to work collaboratively, which is also

underscored in the centre’s biannual spring

doctoral school, an intensive, project-driven

mutual learning experience for 20 international

doctoral and postdoctoral students.

Dr Steven N Liss

Queen’s University, Canada

B R OW S E

www.queensu.ca

H O R I Z O N

2 0 2 0

www.horizon2020projects.com

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

I S S U E S E V E N

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D I G I TA L E C O N O M Y

The right to be forgotten

In 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in favour

of a Spanish citizen who had complained that ‘an auction notice of

his reposed home on Google’s search results infringed his privacy

rights because the proceedings concerning him had been fully

resolved for a number of years’.

Mario Costeja González, who lodged the complaint against La

Vanguardia Ediciones SL, the publisher of a Spanish daily

newspaper, and Google Spain and Google Inc., requested that the

newspaper ‘be required either to remove or alter the pages’ relating

to him. He also asked that the search engine ‘be required to

remove the personal data’ so such information would not show up

in the search results.

One of the outcomes of the case was that ‘individuals have the

right – under certain conditions – to ask search engines to remove

links with personal information about them. This applies where the

information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the

purposes of the data processing.’

Both Google and Microsoft, which operates the Bing search engine,

have launched ‘right to be forgotten’ web forms in order to comply

with the ruling.

A European court has

ruled that EU citizens

have the right to

request that search

engines remove web

link results that

contain personal data