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Remote learning and digital wellbeing: data protection and copyright issues

Today with Dr Giulia Schneider (Sant’Anna, Pisa), we’ve presented our research on the data protection, privacy, and copyright issues in remote teaching. What happens when US-based proprietary platforms dispossess our students’ and teachers’ data and contents? Can the platforms’ dodgy T&C prevail on the law?

We are thankful to the Nexa Center for Internet & Society (Turin) and its Directors Professor Marco Ricolfi and Professor Juan Carlos de Martin for the kind invitation.

Our key conclusions are:

  1. We need better and more balanced governance of data and contents to maximize students’ and teachers’ digital wellbeing
  2. We are running the risk of a de-fact privatization of universities through (i) disposession of data and learning materials by private platforms, and (ii) the prevalance of contracts on the law (including on the GDPR).
  3. E-proctoring and re-use of data for advertising purposes well illustrate the privacy and data protection issues in remote teaching
  4. The upload filter and the limitations in the teaching exception confirm the tilting of copyrighgt in favour of rightsholders to the detriment of freedom of expression, right to education, and academic freedom
  5. Collective bargaining and outsourcing could improve T&Cs, privacy policies, and licenses (that are used to put in place a form of private ordering of data and contents)
  6. Other solutions include certifications and investments in public, European, and open infrastructures. This could provide the backbone for open-source in-house platforms developed at national, collective, or university level. The reliance on US proprietary platforms is likely to be illegal and needlessly expensive, even leaving fundamental rights considerations aside.

The video of the presentation (in Italian) can be watched here.

Our published research on this topic:

Pascault, Léo and Jütte, Bernd Justin and Noto La Diega, Guido and Priora, Giulia, Copyright and Remote Teaching in the Time of Coronavirus: A Study of Contractual Terms and Conditions of Selected Online Services (June 15, 2020). European Intellectual Property Review (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: or

Angiolini, Chiara and Ducato, Rossana and Giannopoulou, Alexandra and Schneider, Giulia, Remote Teaching During the Emergency and Beyond: Four Open Privacy and Data Protection Issues of ‘Platformised’ Education (November 13, 2020). Opinio Juris in Comparatione, vol. 1 (2020),, Available at SSRN:

Emergency Remote Teaching: a study of copyright and data protection terms of popular online services (Part I)

Emergency Remote Teaching: a study of copyright and data protection policies of popular online services (Part II)

Published by guidonld

I am Associate Professor of Intellectual Property Law and Privacy Law at the University of Stirling, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, where I lead the Media Law and Information Technology Law courses. I am an expert in the legal issues of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, and blockchain. Holder of a PhD (Unipa), a postdoc (QMUL), and an HEA Fellowship, I have a strong publication and bidding record and my works on Intellectual Property, Data Protection, Information Technology Law, Consumer Protection, and Human Rights have been cited by the EU Court of Justice’s Advocate General, the House of Lords, the European Commission, and the Council of Europe. Outside of the University of Stirling, I am Director of ‘Ital-IoT’ Centre of Multidisciplinary Research on the Internet of Things, Visiting Professor at the University of Macerata, Fellow of the Nexa Center for Internet and Society, Fellow of NINSO Northumbria Internet & Society Research Group, and I serve on the Executive Committee of the Society of Legal Scholars, the oldest and largest society of law academics in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Most of my publications can be downloaded for free on SSRN, ResearchGate,, and LawArXiv.

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