Publications of Székely, I.

Korenhof P, Ausloos J, Székely I, Ambrose M, Sartor G, Leenes R. Timing the Right to Be Forgotten: A study into “time” as a factor in deciding about retention or erasure of data. In: Gutwirth S, Leenes R, de Hert P, editors. Reforming European Data Protection Law. Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media; 2015. p. 171-201. (Law, Governance and Technology - Issues in Privacy and Data Protection).

Timing the Right to Be Forgotten: A study into “time” as a factor in deciding about retention or erasure of data

The so-called “Right to Be Forgotten or Erasure” (RTBF), article 17 of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation, provides individuals with a means to oppose the often persistent digital memory of the Web. Because digital information technologies affect the accessibility of information over time and time plays a fundamental role in biological forgetting, ‘time’ is a factor that should play a pivotal role in the RTBF. This chapter explores the roles that ‘time’ plays and could play in decisions regarding the retention or erasure of data. Two roles are identified: (1) ‘time’ as the marker of a discrete moment where the grounds for retention no longer hold and ‘forgetting’ of the data should follow and (2) ‘time’ as a factor in the balance of interests, as adding or removing weight to the request to ‘forget’ personal information or its opposing interest. The chapter elaborates on these two roles from different perspectives and highlights the importance and underdeveloped understanding of the second role.

Surveillance and Resilience in Theory and Practice

Surveillance is often used as a tool in resilience strategies towards the threat posed by terrorist attacks and other serious crime. “Resilience” is a contested term with varying and ambiguous meaning in governmental, business and social discourses, and it is not clear how it relates to other terms that characterise processes or states of being. Resilience is often assumed to have positive connotations, but critics view it with great suspicion, regarding it as a neo-liberal governmental strategy. However, we argue that surveillance, introduced in name of greater security, may itself erode social freedoms and public goods such as privacy, paradoxically requiring societal resilience, whether precautionary or in mitigation of the harms it causes to the public goods of free societies. This article develops new models and extends existing ones to describe resilience processes unfolding over time and in anticipation of, or in reaction to, adversities of different kinds and severity, and explores resilience both on the plane of abstract analysis and in the context of societal responses to mass surveillance. The article thus focuses upon surveillance as a special field for conceptual analysis and modelling of situations, and for evaluating contemporary developments in “surveillance societies”.

Székely I. Archivos, archivistas, paradigmas archivísticos: desafíos en la sociedad de la información. In: Torres N, editor. Hacia una política integral de gestión de la información pública. Todo lo que siempre quisimos saber sobre archivos (y nunca nos animamos a preguntarle al acceso a la información). Buenos Aires: CELE, Universidad de Palermo; 2014. p. 171-83.

Archivos, archivistas, paradigmas archivísticos: desafíos en la sociedad de la información

This paper contains the Spanish translation of the presentation “Archives, archivists, archival paradigms: challenges in the information society” recorded live at the conference “Access to Archives and Information: Towards a new epistemic community”, University of Palermo, Buenos Aires, 8 October 2013, and published in the volume “Hacia una política integral de gestión de la información pública. Todo lo que siempre quisimos saber sobre archivos (y nunca nos animamos a preguntarle al acceso a la información)”, edited by Natalia Torres. The paper provides an overview of the raison d’etre of archives, the paradigms of archival history, the types of information preserved in archives, the possible convergence of records management and archival practice, and the challenges of the information society.

Building our future glass homes: An essay about influencing the future through regulation

The present paper surveys the prospects and possibilities of regulating the application areas of Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) – or in a broader sense, of influencing the future way of life – at the intersection of law, technology and society. It dissects the anticipated further erosion of personal privacy – the focus area of the essay – caused by technological developments and related interests. After sketching out an ironic dystopia, in which the idea of transparency is foisted upon the public by future technological developments, the author contemplates the relationships between legal regulation and the underlying values in the predictable but unknowable milieu of future life conditions. While studying the immutability of fundamental values, the author offers a brief survey of the role of public opinion, as well as of the limitations of taking into account the majority opinion, followed by a thought experiment about the possible ways of regulating the “Code”, approaching it from the direction of two fundamental rights, the right to human dignity and the freedom of academic research. After reaching conflicting conclusions and making a few suggestions about possible ways to regulate the area, the author makes a proposal about the introduction of a small-scale experimental tool, metaphorically named as a predictive learning model of regulation. Despite the difficulties and the uncertainties, the essay's overall perspective on the role of legal regulation is not a pessimistic one, as long as it is used flexibly and in conjunction with other means of regulation. Keywords: Future and emerging technologies; Privacy; Regulation; Fundamental values; Predictive learning models of regulation

The right to forget, the right to be forgotten. Personal reflections on the fate of personal data in the information society

As the paper's subtitle suggests, my intention has been to present my views in a format that is decidedly different from the standard style of academic writing. Amalgamating the languages of scientific and literary approaches, the paper is meant to establish a common thread that runs through the separate topics of data protection literature – a leitmotif centered on the problematics of remembering and forgetting, if you will. As a result, readers will not find any numbered sections, bullet points, footnotes or end notes which would hinder the continuity of reading. There is, however, an annotated reference list at the end.

Regulating the future? Law, ethics, and emerging technologies

The purpose of the paper is to provide an overview of the legal implications which may be relevant to the ethical aspects of emerging technologies, to explore the existing situation in the area of legal regulation at EU level, and to formulate recommendations for the lawmakers. The analysis is based on the premise that the law is supposed to invoke moral principles. Speculative findings are formulated on the basis of analyzing specific emerging technologies; empirical findings are based on a research conducted in the whole legal corpus of the EU. In the area of network-based technologies the already existing and elaborated legal frameworks can be used in an extended manner; artificial intelligence based technologies call for alterations in several branches of law; while interface technologies show the difficulty and complexity of regulating interdisciplinary fields. The legal implications of emerging technologies have attracted only a minimal legislative attention in the competent bodies of the EU. The paper provides a systemic approach towards transmitting ethical norms to the application of emerging technologies through legal regulation, and formulates detailed recommendations in various areas of such technologies.

The Four Paradigms of Archival History

With an information-centered approach four successive paradigms can be distinguished in the multi-millennial history of archives. Alongside enduring elements of continuity new key features, functions and impacts appear, which together fundamentally change the actual role and ideology of archives. In the archival systems that can be designated respectively as entitlement-attestation, national, public, and global ones, their primary or new objectives, key institutions, specialists and target audience as well as applied information technologies and characteristic problems show significant differences. This study attempts to include the most important characteristics of these respective archival paradigms in one coherent system, with brief reference to the evolution of the two other major memory-preserving institutions: the library and the museum.

Székely I. Hungary. In: Rule JB, Greenleaf G, editors. Global Privacy Protection: The First Generation. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.; 2008. p. 174-206.


This paper provides a detailed description and analysis of the birth, development and future prospects of privacy protection in Hungary. Starting with a brief overview of early legal antecedents, it describes the semi-public development of the new concept of informational rights in the last years of the Communist regime, emphasizes the role of these rights in the democratic turn and the period of transition, and analyzes the new system of fundamental rights, including the right to privacy and the new laws on the protection of personal data in Hungary. The author – one of the founders of the new concept – evaluates the role of the new supervisory institution, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information and presents some of the Commissioner’s landmark cases, which had shaped the legal and public perception of the right to privacy and data protection. The paper discusses the underlying processes and international influences and devotes a chapter to analyzing public opinion in this area, including the professional reception of the new rights and the attitudes of civic associations. Following the logic of the edited volume, the author gives a brief overview of national culture and traditions and analyzes the interests and attitudes of the winners and losers of the changes. In the final part of the paper the author gives an overview of the successes and failures, and summarizes the prospects for the future in the area of privacy and data protection in Hungary.

Székely I. Central and Eastern Europe: Starting from Scratch. In: Florini A, editor. The Right to Know. Transparency for an Open World. New York: Columbia University Press; 2007. p. 116-42.