Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

Data Protection and Privacy

The protection of personal data and privacy is an area where the  European Union is a global leader. In 2022, the US is looking at how to implement privacy legislation for online platforms, and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is what they look to.

I wrote about the legislative journey of the GDPR in my book The Closing of the Net. The rapporteur was German Green lawyer, MEP Jan Albrecht. He had a tough time and ultimately produced a compromise that was not entirely satisfactory for either industry of citizen advocates.

But the undercurrent to privacy policy is all about surveillance, and nowhere more so, sadly, than in the UK. In 2022, the UK wants to force private platform providers to break encryption on communications between users. The policy battles around privacy did not stop with GDPR. They will continue for many years to come.

If you are interested in data protection policy and the genesis of the GDPR,   you may like my book The Closing of the Net which discusses how the policy was influenced by State and non-State actors.

 In the political battle over the European Data Protection Regulation, a vibrant front is emerging around the issue of profiling – the automated montoring of users Internet browsing habits.  What’s  at stake is whether or not profiling should come under the auspices of the regulator and what  level of regulatory control is appropriate. One argument concerns  whether or not data that has been processed under a “pseudonym” is  addressed by the regulations.  On this point, the European Data Protection Supervisor  has weighed in.

Read more: EU data privacy – profiling the battle front

The EU Data Protection Regulation has  four times the number of amendments as the Telecoms Package.  How will the rapporteur handle this disproportionate application of lobbying?

 The full scale of the lobbying crisis over new European privacy rules has been exposed today as the rapporteur, Jan Albrecht, published his full draft report with  amendments. They total a staggering  three thousand, one hundred and thirty-three,  on 1347 pages. He  will need a court-room trolley to carry them around. How will he handle the massive conflict that the content of the amendments reflects ? 

Read more: EU data privacy law gets a whopping 3133 amendments

The review of the European privacy law – also known as the Data Protection Regulation – has come in for some comment about the lobbying and the eye-opening revelations about the scale of the corporate lobbyists amendments that have been tabled by MEPs.  But  I feel that this is a rather simplistic way of looking at it. As academics, we have more sophisticated job to do. We have to ask, what is the politics? What is problem that we are being critical of? To say, there’s a lot of lobbying may be a starting point, but is a very long way from the end-game.  So  what does it really take to analyse amendments in European legislation?

Read more: EU privacy lobbying amendments – monochrome or shades of grey?


Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

"original and valuable"  Times higher Education

" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web."

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net


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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.


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