The Unaccountable State of Surveillance

Exercising Access Rights in Europe

  • Clive Norris
  • Paul de Hert
  • Xavier L'Hoiry
  • Antonella Galetta

Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS, volume 34)

Also part of the Issues in Privacy and Data Protection book sub series (ISDP, volume 34)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Xavier L’Hoiry, Clive Norris
    Pages 9-20
  3. Antonella Galetta, Paul de Hert
    Pages 21-43
  4. Jaro Krieger-Lamina
    Pages 45-76
  5. Antonella Galetta, Paul de Hert
    Pages 77-108
  6. Nils Zurawski
    Pages 109-133
  7. Ivan Szekely, Beatrix Vissy
    Pages 135-180
  8. Chiara Fonio, Alessia Ceresa
    Pages 181-218
  9. Roger von Laufenberg
    Pages 219-255
  10. Rocco Bellanova, Stine Bergersen, Maral Mirshahi, Marit Moe-Pryce, J. Peter Burgess
    Pages 257-296
  11. Erik Láštic
    Pages 297-323
  12. Gemma Galdon-Clavell
    Pages 325-358
  13. Xavier L’Hoiry, Clive Norris
    Pages 359-404

About this book


This book examines the ability of citizens across ten European countries to exercise their democratic rights to access their personal data. It presents a socio-legal research project, with the researchers acting as citizens, or data subjects, and using ethnographic data collection methods. The research presented here evidences a myriad of strategies and discourses employed by a range of public and private sector organizations as they obstruct and restrict citizens' attempts to exercise their informational rights. The book also provides an up-to-date legal analysis of legal frameworks across Europe concerning access rights and makes several policy recommendations in the area of informational rights. It provides a unique and unparalleled study of the law in action which uncovered the obstacles that citizens encounter if they try to find out what personal data public and private sector organisations collect and store about them, how they process it, and with whom they share it. These are simple questions to ask, and the right to do so is enshrined in law, but getting answers to these questions was met by a raft of strategies which effectively denied citizens their rights. The book documents in rich ethnographic detail the manner in which these discourses of denial played out in the ten countries involved, and explores in depth the implications for policy and regulatory reform.


ARCO rights (access, rectification, cancellation, and objection) Analysis of Exercising Access Rights Analyzing redress mechanisms Citizens’ personal information Comparative legal analyses Data controllers Data protection and privacy Disclosure activities Edward Snowden Ethnographic-based research methods European Directive on Data protection Exercising Access Rights Exercising subject access rights Informational Rights in Europe OECD’s guidelines Protection of personal data State and private agencies Surveillance practices Trans-border flows of personal data Unaccountable State of Surveillance

Editors and affiliations

  • Clive Norris
    • 1
  • Paul de Hert
    • 2
  • Xavier L'Hoiry
    • 3
  • Antonella Galetta
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Sociological StudiesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Law, Science, Technology & SocietyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Sociological StudiesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUnited Kingdom
  4. 4.Studies of Law, LSTS GroupVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Law and Criminology
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-47571-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-47573-8
  • Series Print ISSN 2352-1902
  • Series Online ISSN 2352-1910
  • About this book