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The use of personal data for political purposes is the subject of ongoing investigation in the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union. There is also concern in Ireland that social media networks and micro-targeting processes are being utilised for similar reasons. Some social media companies have introduced new product features to enhance transparency, but doubts have been expressed as to the likely effectiveness of this kind of self-regulation. Whether data subjects can be expected to understand the implications and risks of data trading, and so freely consent to this (as envisaged under the impending General Data Protection Regulation), is also uncertain.

About the Speakers:

James Lawless is Fianna Fail TD for Kildare North, and the party’s Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research and Development. Before becoming a TD, James worked in IT and financial services, with a particular focus on compliance and regulation including data protection, corporate governance and conduct of business. He hold a BA and MA in Maths and Finance from Trinity College Dublin, and more recently studied law at Kings Inns (B.L.) where he trained as a barrister.

Fred Logue is Principal with FP Logue Solicitors, a law firm based in Dublin, specialising in technology, intellectual property, data protection and information law. Fred advises on Freedom of Information requests, access to environmental information, data protection and privacy. He holds a BSc and a Diploma in Arbitration Law from University College Dublin, and a PhD from Trinity College Dublin. He is also a Chartered Physicist.

Professor O’Sullivan is based at University College Cork and is also an Adjunct Professor at Monash University in Australia. He is a founding director of the SFI-funded Insight Centre for Data Analytics and a founding principal investigator in the Confirm Centre for Smart Manufacturing. Professor O’Sullivan is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and is a Fellow and the Deputy President of the European Artificial Intelligence Association. He was both SFI Researcher of the Year and UCC Researcher of the Year.