Browsing by Subject "transparency"

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  • From, Alexandra (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Data protection has become a pivotal topic in modern democratic societies. Lawmakers have, however, faced challenges in protecting data in the face of rapid technological growth and development in the online environment. ‘Cookies’ are a prominent tool for website operators that enable the collection and processing of vast amounts of personal data of internet users. The use of cookies is based on user’s consent as required under Article 5(3) of Directive 2002/58/EC (ePrivacy Directive). It is, however, questionable whether cookie consent and notice practices are de facto effective in protecting internet users and providing them control over the use of their data obtained via cookies. The goal of this master’s thesis is to analyse whether the traditional model of consent and notice is the appropriate legal basis for the use of website cookies. The research question is divided into two parts. The first part concerns whether consent and notice are an effective tool in providing control and protection to individuals with respect to personal data processed through internet cookies. The second part concerns whether the EU’s data protection framework provides clear and harmonised rules on cookie consents and notices. It will focus especially on the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) and the ePrivacy Directive. This thesis uses mainly the legal doctrinal method and qualitative empirical evidence in answering its research question. After the introductory chapter, this thesis will in chapter 2 define cookies and its purposes, as well as outline the legal framework used in this research. Chapter 3 introduces the reader to the concept of consent and its different components, as well as the transparency principle and the accompanying information obligation. Consent consists of freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous elements. Chapter 4 will then discuss the first part of the research question. It will be seen that cookie consents and notices are burdened by many factors as evidenced through behavioural economics, cognitive and structural problems, as well as other factors. It is concluded, therefore, that cookie consents and notices in their traditional form are not an effective tool in providing control and data protection to internet users. Nevertheless, consent and notice are so enshrined in the EU’s data protection regime that they will not be easily abandoned. Chapter 5 discusses the second part of the research question by looking at practical examples in order to see how websites from the legal sector and different national data protection authorities have complied with cookie consent and notice obligations. It will be seen that cookie rules are interpreted inconsistently by even these websites, which has resulted in noncompliance in some instances. Hence, it is concluded that the GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive have failed to harmonise cookie consents and notices. Chapter 6 will look to the future and discuss briefly the proposed Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications (ePrivacy Regulation) in terms of i) ‘cookie walls’, which basically coerces website users to accept cookies or otherwise they will be denied access to the site or service, and ii) the legitimate interests ground, which has been introduced as an alternative legal basis to consent with respect to cookies in the latest revised draft of the ePrivacy Regulation adopted on 21 February 2020 by the Croatian Presidency. It will be concluded in chapter 7 that the traditional model of consent and notice might not always be the appropriate legal basis for cookies, hence legislators should look into other legal bases as well, such as, the legitimate interest ground. However, whether or not this ground will be able to provide better protection and control to internet users remains to be seen.
  • Hillebrandt, Maarten Zbigniew (2021)
    In this thematic issue, the question whether EU decision making might be characterised by an excess of transparency stands central. This contribution addresses an issue that precedes such questions of quantity: that of transparency’s qualities, i.e., its specific shape. From an early point in time, transparency in the EU has been equated with the narrow and legalistic notion of ‘access to documents.’ Although since then, transparency has become associated with a wider range of practices, the Union has not managed to shake off the concept’s association with bureaucracy, opacity, and complexity. This remains the case, in spite of the fact that administrations and decision-makers across the world increasingly utilise the possibilities of technological innovation to communicate more directly with their electorates. In this changing communicative context, this commentary considers whether EU transparency as access to documents is still fit for purpose. It does so by exploring access policy from the vantage point of legal developments, administrative practices, political dynamics, and technological innovations. The commentary concludes that while improvements are needed, the access to documents concept endures. However, access to documents needs to be complemented by constructive (rather than predatory) public justification and contestation, to remain viable.
  • Saarinen, Tuomo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The use of machine learning and algorithms in decision making processes in our every day lifehas been growing rapidly. The uses range from bank loans and taxation to criminal sentencesand child care decisions. Because of the possible high importance of such decisions, we need tomake sure that the algorithms used are as unbiased as possible.The purpose of this thesis is to provide an overview of the possible biases in algorithm assisteddecision making, how these biases affect the decision making process, and go through someproposes on how to tackle these biases. Some of the proposed solutions are more technical,including algorithms and different ways to filter bias from the machine learning phase. Othersolutions are more societal and legal and address the things we need to take into account whendeciding what can be done to reduce bias by legislation or by enlightening people on the issuesof data mining and big data.
  • Rautakorpi, Jasmin (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Commodity chain data transparency is a growing phenomenon in public discussion and in the private sector. It is an essential way for companies and certification schemes to express their sustainability efforts and values. However, commodity chain data can include questions of power and information asymmetry which can affect the commodity chain stakeholders, such as the producers and the consumers. The Fairtrade movement is known as the defender of the small-scale producers in the so-called Global South and which aims to reduce global poverty. This research focuses on the Fairtrade certified coffee commodity chain data and examines what kind of challenges and needs the commodity chain stakeholders have in terms of data transparency and what potential benefits they receive. The stakeholders include consumers, producers and coffee buying companies. This research relies on the Global Value Chain -framework and examines the commodity chain data in light of power asymmetries. The purpose is to provide a multifaceted review about the questions of commodity chain data and Fairtrade. This research uses qualitative, semi-structured interviews which were conducted with seven participants from different backgrounds, such as the private sector and organizations. Additionally, some complementary data was collected from Fairtrade International and FLOCERT’s websites. The data was analyzed through the lens of qualitative content analysis. The central findings are Fairtrade commodity chain data related challenges, such as confidentiality, information gaps and the different needs of the stakeholders. These somewhat conflicting needs make it difficult to set a level of transparency that would meet the needs of all the stakeholders which in turn provides limited benefits. Nevertheless, despite challenges, Fairtrade is seen as a valid partner, expressing a wider societal significance. When considering commodity chain data transparency, it is important to ask whose interests the data represent. The central conclusion is that the benefits of commodity chain data transparency depend on how well they meet the needs of the stakeholders.
  • Dahlberg, Maija; Wyatt, Daniel (2019)
    Both of the European courts, namely the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union, have well-established case law on the public’s right of access to official documents. The core of the right is the same in both of the courts’ jurisdictions but the interpretations concerning the breadth of the right are very different. One fundamental reason for the public’s right of access to information being understood differently by each of these courts is their divergent approaches to the assessment of the public interest associated with an individual’s request for information. While the ECtHR openly evaluates the public interest or interests involved in the disclosure of an official document, the CJEU gives this factor little or no weight. In this article, our main argument is that CJEU should follow the ECtHR’s interpretation of the public interest in order to give the right of access to documents the same scope in both legal regimes and, in doing so, fulfil the requirements stemming from Article 52(3) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
  • Wirén, Sini (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    On the basis of technological advances, changing economic conditions and heightened audience expectations for openness and credibility, it has been suggested that transparency should be a new ethical norm for professional online journalism. While theoretical knowledge on this topic is constantly expanding, comprehensive empirical analysis of the practical implementation of transparency measures in news production is still rather scarce, particularly in Finland. To fill this gap in the existing research, this study focuses on transparency in the content of ten leading news websites in Finland. The content is examined with a mixed-methods approach that incorporates both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis. While the quantitative analysis examines a total of 70 front-page articles from each of these news websites with a focus on systematic techniques that reflect transparency, the qualitative analysis scrutinizes these websites in their entirety by concentrating on the larger structures and elements that foster transparency through disclosure of information and supporting audience participation in news production. The results indicate that the level of transparency in the leading online media sources is still relatively low, and that there are no significant differences in transparency measures between the different kinds of mainstream news outlets, although certain techniques seem to be more popular in the tabloid media and others are more widely used by online-only or public service media. As practicing editorial and journalistic transparency does not usually require large financial investments, or involve legal restrictions, the discussion suggests that the main limitations for the utilization of transparency measures are the lack of audience demand on one hand and attitudinal resistance from the media professionals and organisations on the other. This study manages to add new knowledge to prior research on this topic by providing a comprehensive account of both the level and the nature of media transparency. At the same time, it clearly indicates that both transparency and online news publishing are such multi-dimensional and constantly evolving matters that comprehensive measurement of their prevalence would require much further research through a more diverse methodology. In addition to its academic contribution, this study introduces different transparency techniques that would benefit journalism practitioners. It also focuses the attention of consumers on the quality of online journalism and provides them with comparable information on the performance of different news outlets with regards to openness and public participation.
  • Schultz, Christian (Hanken School of Economics, 2002)
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    This paper investigates the effects on tacit collusion of increased markets transparency on the consumer side of a market in a differentiated Hotelling duopoly. Increasing market transparency increases the benefits to a firm from undercutting the collusive price. It also decreases the punishment profit. The net effect is that collusion becomes harder to sustain. In the limiting homogeneous market, the effect vanishes. Here market transparency does not effect the possibilities for tacit collusion.
  • Hamel, Tristan (2008)
    The main objective of this Master's thesis is to draw a link between the level of transparency in the European Parliament and the strategies adopted by lobbyists before the MEPs. In this Master's thesis, it is explained that transparency is a necessary condition to effective democracy. In the context of democratic accountability, transparency should be understood as inwards and ex-post disclosure of information. Once these precisions brought, a cost-based approach of the concept is proposed in order to bring explanations to the current lack of transparency in the European Parliament. In addition, a review of the previous literature on lobbying in the EU aims at outlining the elements that should be taken in consideration to build a model of lobbying in the European Parliament. The classic distinction between diffuse and concentrate interests is underlined as an important factor. Standing committees of the European Parliament are the main arena for lobbyists. Through these committees, they intend to introduce amendments by providing assistance to MEPs, although concentrate interests' groups are better armed for this. A model of lobbying in the European Parliament based on a classic supply-demand pattern takes all these elements in consideration. The model represents progress achieved on different issues of interest by the MEPs according to the strategies adopted by lobbyists on these issues. Two strategies are compared: assistance of MEPs through legislative subsidy or pressure from the outside through grassroots campaigns. By inserting an additional factor to represent the level of transparency, it is defended that a lack of transparency impedes outside pressure of MEPs and promotes the use of a more consensual strategy, namely legislative subsidy. Such a situation puts additional burdens on interest groups defending diffuse types of interests and favors those defending concentrate interests. In addition, the model predicts that lobbyists can hardly opt for greater transparency without bearing the risk to reduce the chances of success of their enterprise in the European Parliament. In order to strengthen the model, its assumptions and predictions have been tested in an empirical research conducted on REACH in the European Parliament. The research combines both quantitative and qualitative elements. A preliminary analysis of the amendments tabled in first reading serves as an indirect indicator of the significance of lobbying and outlines the role of lobbyists in the draft of amendments. This first step is completed by the analysis of the data gathered through interviews of MEPs and lobbyists. The different aspects treated in the interviews have generally brought support to an interpretation of lobbying in the European Parliament as a form of legislative subsidy and linked it with the low level of transparency.