SSCL: Data Subject Rights through a Computer Science Lens

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday 16 April, 2024
  • Time:
  • Price:
  • Venue: The Mackenzie Building, Faculty Of Advocates

Explore how computer science intersects with data subject rights.

Date: Tuesday 16 April 2024
Time: 5.30 pm – 6.30 pm
Venue: The Mackenzie Building, Faculty Of Advocates, Old Assembly Close, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1QX High Street Edinburgh EH1 1QX
Fee: Free to attend (members and non-members welcome)
Bookings: Please click here to book a place:
Please note: This event will be held on an online platform (zoom/teams) and will also have limited availability in person. 

Event Info:

Over 140 countries have legislated data protection and privacy laws, and some of these laws exemplify the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and created rights for individuals (data subjects) [1]. While the drafters of these laws and policymakers [3] expect this legal framework to empower data subjects, enhance privacy protection, and ensure transparency and control over the use of personal data in digital space, other categories of people view this legal framework as something different. For example, researchers use these data subject rights as a methodology for data collection in research studies [2,3]. Habu and Henderson systematically reviewed academic studies that use data subject rights as a methodology for data collection [2]. Activists are using these rights to fight for workers’ rights and demand fair processing of their data [5]. Due to the contradictory expectations of what these rights may achieve, there could be asymmetries between the law in theory and in practice.

In this talk, we discuss what data subject rights are, such as the right of access, rectification, erasure, and portability, as enshrined in prominent data protection regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other global counterparts. We will then delve into how they have been used. Through a Computer Science lens, what are the challenges of implementing these laws in practice [2]? Whether this important legal framework is achieving the expectations of its drafters, and if not, why not? What is the way forward?

We first consider the legal framework in theory and then review some empirical works that present results regarding the effectiveness of the implementation of these rights in practice. Lastly, we look at how we can illuminate other areas for better data subject rights regime.

Speaker Bio:

Adamu Adamu is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews. His research is trying to understand how citizen science can be used to improve the scalability of research studies that employ data subject rights as a methodology for data collection. He holds a master’s degree in Computer and IT from the University of St Andrews and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Nigeria. In his free time, Adamu loves reading and trekking.

Administration notes
This event is free to attend and open to members and non-members alike. Please click here to book a place:

To join SSCL you must first join SCL. SCL membership includes access to digital issues of the SCL magazine “Computers & Law” and the monthly News Review plus plus notification of future SSCL meetings. The cost of annual SCL membership including SSCL membership is £165.00.
If you would like more information about the SSCL please email the Society at


[1]. Daniel J. Solove. The Limitations of Privacy Rights. Notre Dame Law Review 98 (2023)

[2]. Habu AA., Henderson T. Data subject rights as a research methodology: A systematic literature review. Journal of Responsible Technology. 2023 Oct 12:100070.

[3]. Turner S, Tanczer LM. In principle vs in practice: User, expert and policymaker attitudes towards the right to data portability in the internet of things. Computer Law & Security Review. 2024 Apr 1;52:105912.

[4]. Ausloos J, Veale M. Researching with data rights. Amsterdam Law School Research Paper. 2020 Dec 31(2020-30).

[5]. Open Society Foundations, Q and A: Fighting for worker’s right to data (May 2019). URL:

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