Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium on the Digital Person 2017-04-21T15:37:35+00:00

Wolfson College Cambridge and the HAT Community Foundation are delighted to be hosting the inaugural Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium Series in 2017.

The use and manipulation of our personal data is of enormous global concern. In a series of four panel discussions, speakers will explore critical issues around the uses (and abuses) of our personal data, as well as the wider questions of the Digital Person, freedom, identity, security and innovation. Floor discussions will be held and the series will produce a briefing paper on research and practice in personal data.

With broad-ranging appeal, the series is designed to interest practitioners and policy makers, as well as academics in the sciences, humanities and social sciences with discussions relating to law, computer science, history, sociology, entrepreneurship, business, economics and the global society.

The Symposium is organized jointly by Wolfson College Cambridge and the HAT Community Foundation .

The events will be held at Roger Needham Room, Chancellor’s Centre, Wolfson College at 5.30pm on the following dates:

Wednesday 15 March 2017
Wednesday 22 March 2017
Wednesday 29 March 2017
Wednesday 5 April 2017


‘Personal data’ is the usual European term, but in the US it is often known as ‘personal information’ or ‘personally identifiable information’ (p.7, Van Kleek and O’Hara,). Personal data/information is defined as ‘any information/data relating to an identified or identifiable natural person’ Bonneau and Preibusch (2010). This isn’t just email, addresses or credit card information but photographs, social media posts, documents – almost everything on the Internet that could be linked to an individual. ICO has an entire document dedicated to what is personal data for the purpose of the data protection act 1988 and its successor, the General Data Protection Regulation that firms would need to comply by May 2018.

Personal data is currently one of the most talked about subjects in both academia and practice when discussing the digital economy and the Internet. Most conversations surround privacy and security. However, there are many facets of personal data that need more robust discussion, many of which interact with privacy and security. The Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium on the Digital Person serves to raise awareness on this topic and discuss issues relating to personal data in the Internet Economy. The symposium spans 4 weeks with each week dedicated to a specific topic relating to the digital person.

Week 1: Personal data: digital personhood, 15 March 2017, 530pm

Covering topics such as the expression of digital identity, curating personal, digital narratives and memories, proxies of digital self, digital and physical world connections, online identities and understanding how individuals and society could benefit from the value of digital selves

This session will be chaired by Professor Wendy Moncur

Week 2: Personal data: Industry and Markets, 22 March 2017, 530pm

Covering areas such as personal data as a commodity that fuels $31b of the advertising economy, exchange mechanisms, transactions, industry practices, monetization, dataification, digitization

This session will be chaired by Professor Irene Ng

Week 3: Personal data: freedom and rights, 29 March 2017, 530pm

Covering areas such as privacy, security, access rights, regulation, transaction costs and ownership, property rights

This session will be chaired by Professor John Naughton

Week 4: Personal data: Innovation and Analytics, 5 April 2017, 430pm (including a final wrap up session)

Covering areas such as personal data creation, schemas, analytics, transformation, algorithms and technical issues of storing, moving, using and display, human factors and interaction

This session will be chaired by Professor Jon Crowcroft

Spaces are limited, so please register here.

Resources and Multimedia

Thank you everyone for participating in a successful inaugrual Symposium. Below you can find video, audio, and photography from the event. Look forward to seeing you next time!

Download a package of some of the top photographs from the event

Click here to request a collection of audio files from each of the lectures:

Click here to request a series of videos captured from the second lecture on March 21, Personal Data Industry and Markets

For questions about the programme and organisation, contact Ganna Pogrebna via g.pogrebna@warwick.ac.uk.