Is the GDPR and Its Right to Data Portability a Major Enabler of Citizen Science?

  • 1 Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
Paul Quinn

Abstract

Citizen science is an emerging trend with an ever greater number of adherents. It involves the collection and contribution of large amounts of data by private individuals for scientific research. Often such data will concern the individuals themselves and will be collected through processes of self monitoring. This phenomenon has been greatly influenced by the Internet of Things (IoT) and the connectivity of a wide range monitoring devices through the internet. In collecting such data use will often be made of the services of various commercial organisations, for example that offer cloud storage services. The possibility of data portability is extremely important in citizen science as it allows individuals (or data subjects) to be able move their data from one source to another (i. e. to new areas of scientific research). This article explores the limits and possibilities that legal rights to data portability offer, in particular the new right as outlined by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. In doing so this article will look at where this right (and how it operates in the international legal context) is able to facilitate the phenomenon of citizen science.

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