Your digital home is no longer your castle: How cloud computing transforms the (legal) relationship between individuals and their digital assets

CEU Community + Invited Guests
Oktober 6 u. 7
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 12:45pm
Add to Calendar
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 12:45pm

Title: Your digital home is no longer your castle: How cloud computing transforms the (legal) relationship between individuals and their digital assets

Presentation by Kristina Irion Marie Curie Fellow at the Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam, and Assistant Professor, Departments of Public Policy and Legal Studies, CEU.

In line with the overall trend towards virtualization, individuals’ personal affairs, too, are composed of digital assets to an increasing amount. Today, everybody keeps digital records of photos, agendas, contracts, transactions, diaries etc. which are no longer filed away and kept as physical artefacts, visible in our homes becoming more sleek and minimalist. At about the same time, the era of local storage in end user equipment is about to give way to remote computing where data resides on third party equipment. This is modern, this the future and in some aspect this is beneficial for individuals being relieved from cumbersome backing-up procedures and data losses from hardware failure for example. However, once information, and even the most personal one, is no longer stored on personal equipment the relationship between individual users and their digital assets belonging to them is becoming increasingly abstract.

This contribution focuses on the implications of virtualization and remote computing for individuals’ unpublicized digital information (UDI), ie. those information which are not disclosed or shared as user generated content but used to sit on our desktop. The question to be answered with a combination of legal analysis and empirical research is whether - taken together - the progressing virtualization and the disruption of physical control produce a backslide for individual positions of rights that is not properly understood. The paper introduces the legal treatment of users’ unpublicized digital information and how a technical transformation in combination with disparate legal protection and prevailing commercial practices are bound to impact the distribution of rights and obligations.

Short presentation followed by discussion.

Kristina Irion is presently a Marie Curie fellow at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam where she will be implementing a research project on governing digital information. She is faculty (on research leave) at the Departments of Public Policy and Legal Studies at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. She obtained her Dr. iuris degree from Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, and holds a Master’s degree in Information Technology and Telecommunications Law from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. She has worked in the field of audiovisual media, electronic communications and data protection regulation and policy for ten years as an academic and professional. Kristina Irion was key personnel of four collaborative European research projects on privacy, independent media regulatory bodies, and building functioning media institutions. She provided expertise to the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the OECD and ENISA as well as collaborating with the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). She is a member of the international advisory boards of the Electronic Information Privacy Center (EPIC) and Privacy Int’l.


Now entering its third year, the Media and Change lunch series aims at creating a space for reflection and informal discussion about media policies, perils, potentials, and practices. We view this as an opportunity for networking with each other and fellow faculty, students, staff and researchers interested in the media, communication and technological transformations taking hold.

Sandwiches will be provided on a first come, first served basis. Please bring your own beverage.


We are always interested in new ideas for discussion topics and presentations, and encourage volunteers from faculty, students and staff to moderate future sessions.