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Freedom of expression and digital rights in social media: Challenges and risks
This paper deals with the issue of the growing powers of online platforms and social media in the new digital era and their impact on our privacy. Subsequently, on the occasion of the suspension of Donald Trump’s accounts by Facebook and Twitter, serious concerns arise regarding the protection of fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of expression, in the online environment as well as the operational and organisational challenges in implementing and meeting privacy requirements. Through a comparative analysis of the European and international legal frameworks that cover the freedom of expression, this paper aims to demonstrate how to balance the rights, freedoms and interests of the individual against the challenges imposed by the ongoing technological evolutions. Moreover, ‘A Europe fit for the digital age’ is one of the most important priorities of the European Commission for the years 2019–24 and includes the promotion of technology and science in an open, democratic and sustainable digital society. Social media play a major role in the implementation of a fair and competitive digital economy as they constitute a forum of commerce and culture. The extent of their interference with our digital rights, however, is controversial. In addition, there is no complete and clear regulatory framework regarding their powers and operation. Therefore, the ultimate goal of the study is to propose fruitful solutions to the internet governance with respect to the consolidation of digital privacy and the deployment of technological tools, such as artificial intelligence.
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Dr Konstantinos Kouroupis is an Assistant Professor of European and Data Rights Law at the Department of Law at Frederick University, in Cyprus. He graduated in Law from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and he was awarded an LLM Diploma in European Law (DEA de Droit Communautaire) from Université des Sciences Sociales de Toulouse 1, where his master thesis at the field of European Law of Competition has been honoured. In 2014, he was awarded his PhD at the Department of International and European Studies, University of Macedonia in Greece, specialising in European Data Rights Law. His PhD thesis has been evaluated as ‘Excellent’ by the jury consisted of six professors. He has also participated as a speaker on data rights and privacy issues in several international conferences. Some of his studies have been uploaded to the digital library of EUROJUST, in Hague, and are accessible from a large number of prosecutors, judicial officers and administrative staff of the European agency. In 2018, he delivered a speech on ‘National and European legal framework on Cybersecurity and data protection’ as an expert and on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus, during an international exercise under the supervision of the European Defence Agency, held at Zenon Coordination Centre, in Larnaka, in Cyprus. He has participated in European projects regarding the protection of data rights, and he has served as the local project coordinator of European programs (JUSTICE), funded by the European Union, concerning the interpretation and elaboration of the General Data Protection Regulation. At present, he is a member of the European Cost action entitled ‘Global Digital Human Rights Network’, under the auspices of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), serving as Management Committee Delegate, representing Cyprus. He is the author of several legal books and has published articles, both in Greek and English as well as in French to esteemed peerreviewed journals. He is also a member of the research team of Jean Monnet Chair ‘New Dimensions in European Legal Studies’ and Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence of the University of Macedonia in Greece as an expert on data rights law.
Dimitrios Vagianos MSc, PhD, has graduated from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki in Greece. He has been awarded an MSc with Distinction in Mobile Communication Systems from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom. He holds a PhD awarded by the University of Macedonia in Social Web Big Data Mining and Analysis Methods. Currently, he is a member of the Laboratory Teaching Personnel of the Department of International and European Studies of the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece, and a founding member of the Governance and ICT Lab there. He is teaching stand-alone undergraduate or postgraduate courses, with Digital Media Society, Politics of the Internet, Computer Applications and Multimedia among them. He is a member of the Technical Chamber of Greece, the Greek Association of Civil Servant Engineers and the EU Cost Action CA19142 Management Committee of the Leading Platform for European Citizens, Industries, Academia and Policymakers in Media Accessibility. He has participated in a number of EUfunded projects and has presented parts of his research work at various international conferences. His writings have been published as peer-reviewed papers in several scientific journals and as chapters in edited volumes of international publishers. He can speak English and German.