2020/ 2021

Cristina Blasi Casagran

Mobility Phase: AWO Agency, London | University College London

The Role of Technology in Enriching Participatory Democracy in the EU

Cristina Blasi is Assistant Professor in EU law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). After conducting her Law Degree in 2007, she completed a Master’s degree on EU integration (Barcelona, 2008), a LL.M. on EU Law (Saarland, 2009) and a LL.M. on Comparative, European and International Laws (Florence, 2011). She completed her PhD in Law at the European University Institute (Florence, 2015), in which she specialised on EU privacy and data protection law. As for her professional experience, she carried out paid internships at the Legal Service of the European Commission (2010), the European Supervisor of Data Protection (2012) and Europol (2013). Cristina is a Lecturer of EU Law and Public Participation in the EU institutions in the Law Faculty, and is currently coordinating the H2020 project “IT tools and methods to manage migration flows” (ITFLOWS) and the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Modules EUCONAS.

The Role of Technology in Enriching Participatory Democracy in the EU

This study will explore the role that technology plays in the current democratic processes, focusing on how technology increasingly has the power to shape governments, geopolitics and the socio-economic systems in which we are living. The premise for this study is that technology does not automatically enrich democracy. It will look into specific online platforms such as Google and Facebook. These tech companies have originated a new “surveillance capitalism”, using the ability to target and ultimately influence the behaviour of voters by analysing and matching multiple consumer data points. The second part of this study will focus on the regulation of personal data processed and used for political campaigning purposes. Regulating technology is at some level necessary in order to preserve the Internet as an open space and to ensure that it continues to benefit the population. It will determine whether the EU can set global standards in regulating data access for political campaigns and elections. The overall goal of this study is to determine whether technology is changing the way democracy should be defined, and also to measure to what extent laws should regulate the way society is supposed to use technology as part of their democratic processes.