Intermediating data rights exercises: the role of legal mandates

- Data subject rights constitute critical tools for empowerment in the digitized society. There is a growing trend of relying on third parties to facilitate or coordinate the collective exercises of data rights, on behalf of one or more data subjects.

- This contribution refers to these parties as ‘Data Rights Intermediaries’ (DRIs), ie where an ‘intermediating’
party facilitates or enables the collective exercise of data rights. The exercise of data rights by these DRIs on behalf of the data subjects can only be effectuated with the help of mandates.

- Data rights mandates are not expressly framed in the GDPR their delineation can be ambiguous. It is important to highlight that data rights are mandatable and this without affecting their inalienability
in light of their fundamental rights’ nature.

- This article argues that contract law and fiduciary duties both have longstanding traditions and robust
norms in many jurisdictions, all of which can be explored towards shaping the appropriate environment to regulate data rights mandates in particular.

- The article concludes that the key in unlocking the full potential of data rights mandates can already be found in existing civil law constructs, whose diversity reveals the need for solidifying the responsibility and accountability of mandated DRIs. The continued adherence to fundamental contract law principles will have to be complemented by a robust framework of institutional safeguards. The need for such safeguards stems from the vulnerable position of data subjects, both vis-a`-vis DRIs as well as data

A. Giannopoulou, J. Ausloos, S. Delacroix, H. Janssen ‘Intermediating data rights exercises: the role of legal mandates’ (2022) International Data Privacy Law pp. 1 – 16.

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