Fulfilling their Data Access Obligations. Platforms Need to Increase their Compliance for Providing Digital Trace Data


Research into digital platforms has become increasingly difficult. One way to overcome these difficulties is to build on data access rights in EU data protection law, which requires platforms to offer data takeouts to users. In data donation studies, researchers ask study participants to exercise this right and donate their data to science. However, there is increasing evidence that platforms do not comply with designated laws. After discussing the obligations of data access from a legal perspective (with accessible, transparent and complete data as key requirements), we compile experiences from social scientists engaging in data donation studies: We identify 14 key challenges, most of which are a consequence of non-compliance by platforms. They include platforms’ insufficient adherence to (a) providing data in a concise and easily accessible form (e.g., the lack of information on when and how subjects can access their data); (b) being transparent about the content of data takeouts (e.g., the lack of information on measures); and (c) providing complete data (e.g., the lack of complete information on individual activities). Finally, we formulate four central recommendations for improving the right to access.

Feb 21, 2024
Invited Talk at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS)
Dr. Valerie Hase
Dr. Valerie Hase
Postdoctoral Scholar / Akademische Rätin a.Z.