Right to Personal Identity: The Challenges of Ambient Intelligence and the Need for a New Legal Conceptualization

  • Norberto Nuno Gomes de Andrade


Ambient intelligence, profiling techniques and the convergence between digital and physical environments, among other technological progresses, promise to revolutionize the way we live and interact in society. In this article I will focus upon how those technologies will put into question the classical and static ideas we have about ourselves and about our own identities. As such, and in order to face the various challenges posed by future and emerging technologies to the definition and establishment of personal identity, I will elaborate on a novel, needed and comprehensive conceptualization of the right to personal identity. The analysis of the right to personal identity includes a brief account of its legal evolution, emphasizing its main theoretical predecessors. Such historical digression encompasses also the main contributions to the conceptualization of this legal disposition delivered by the modern doctrine of personality law, constitutional law and human rights legal framework. After such analysis, I will then examine the main challenges posed to the right to personal identity by new and forthcoming technological developments, namely the ones brought by the vision of ambient intelligence. Having acknowledged those challenges, I will then strive to demonstrate the pressing need to rethink the right to personal identity. As such, after a critical analysis of the configuration of the right to identity made by the Italian jurisprudence, one of the most active legal systems in the theorization of this juridical figure, I will propose a renewed conceptualization of the right to personal identity. In the ambit of such theorization, I will present a list of different “sub-rights” which should be accommodated under the umbrella of the right to identity, namely the right to be forgotten and the right to multiple identities.


Personal Data Personal Identity Human Person Private Life Genetic Identity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LawEuropean University InstituteFlorenceItaly

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