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PhD defence

EU Privacy and Data Protection Law applied to AI: Unveiling the Legal Problems for Individuals

  • A.N. Häuselmann
Tuesday 23 April 2024
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof.mr.dr.ir. B.H.M. Custers
  • Prof.dr.mr. G.J. Zwenne



AI-powered emotion recognition, AI decoders translating brain activity into text, or eavesdropping virtual assistants: three non-fictional examples illustrate how AI may impact society. AI-related products and services increasingly find their way into daily life. Are the EU's fundamental rights to privacy and data protection equipped to protect individuals effectively?


In addressing this question, the dissertation concludes that no new legal framework is needed. Instead, adjustments are required. First, the extent of adjustments depends on the AI discipline. There is nothing like 'the AI'. AI covers various concepts, including the disciplines machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, affective computing and automated reasoning. Second, the extent of adjustments depends on the type of legal problem: legal provisions are violated (type 1), cannot be enforced (type 2) or are not fit for purpose (type 3). Type 2 and 3 problems require either adjustments of current provisions or new judicial interpretations. Two instruments might be helpful for more effective legislation: rebuttable presumptions and reversal of proof. In some cases, the solution is technical, not legal. Research in AI should solve reasoning deficiencies in AI systems and their lack of common sense.

PhD dissertations

Approximately one week after the defence, PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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