Visit by renowned expert on privacy and freedom of expression

How do we ensure the data privacy protection of our digital selves? Or strike a balance between reputation and freedom of expression? Professor Anne S.Y. Cheung addresses these questions and others in her lectures this month.

Professor Anne S.Y. Cheung of the University of Hong Kong

Professor Cheung, who is visiting New Zealand as the 2019 Legal Research Foundation Visiting Scholar and is also being supported by sponsorship from the Law Foundation’s Information Law and Policy Project, will present two lectures, the first entitled Data Privacy in the Big Data Era, and the second, Rating Reputation: Online Defamation.

The first lecture, hosted by the University of Auckland, explores data privacy protection for the digitized persona, focusing on the challenges brought by profiling.

The technology and promise of big data, together with algorithms and artificial intelligence, have revolutionised our society, and while they bring new opportunities, they also bring risks to the way we live, work and make decisions.

In private business and in the public sector, these evolving technologies have been used for the purposes of profiling, monitoring, predictive analysis and risk calculation. At the same time, we, as individuals, have become digitised data selves. More worrying, the proxy data self can dictate the life of the corporeal self, as we have seen in the practice of financial credit scoring or social credit scoring.

Professor Cheung will argue that we should move from a pure opt-in consent regime to an accountability model for big data analytics. Professor Cheung will repeat this public lecture in Wellington.

Her second lecture, held at the Northern Club in Auckland, draws on jurisprudence to examine how different jurisdictions have endeavoured to strike a balance between reputation and freedom of expression.

The 21st century has witnessed a blossoming of rating, evaluation or even blacklisting sites. We are living in a “reputation nation,” where our conduct is evaluated often by anonymous individuals in different aspects, entailing the dangers of shame sanctions. This reputation rating system is far from being a system of formal adjudication. It may carry false or incorrect information, and may not allow an individual to correct such information.

Professor Cheung questions how we develop a new model with an appropriate procedural layout that can accommodate social norms, technological advancement and the legal right to protect reputation on online platforms. She advocates for a new regime that requires online rating sites to have netiquette and information policy, including the right to reply amongst other requirements.

Cheung is a professor in the Department of Law at the University of Hong Kong. She received her legal education at the University of Hong Kong (LLB), the University of Toronto (JD), University of London (LLM) and Stanford University (JSD). Her research interests include freedom of expression and privacy, focusing on the challenges brought by the internet and technology. Her recent projects are on cyberbullying and China’s social credit system.

Tuesday, 4 June
Data Privacy in the Big Data Era
5-7pm, Decima Lecture Theatre
Auckland Business School
University of Auckland

Thursday, 6 June
Rating Reputation: Online Defamation
5-6pm, Northern Club
Princes Street, Auckland.

Tuesday, 11 June
Data Privacy in the Big Data Era
5.30pm to 7.30pm, Lecture Theatre Three
Old Government Buildings
Victoria University of Wellington

Details about the New Zealand Law Foundation’s Information Law and Policy Project are available on their website.

Media contact

Miranda Playfair | Media Adviser
Mob: 021 063 8393