[Humanist] 26.434 public good vs personal data protection

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Oct 30 07:57:27 CET 2012

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 434.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2012 09:46:58 +0000
        From: Daniel Allington <daniel.allington at open.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 26.431 public good vs personal data protection?
        In-Reply-To: <20121028082023.E979E2DD9 at digitalhumanities.org>

Looking at the corpus in question, one is able to limit the search to different sub-corpora. So it seems to me that a possible partial solution might be to have the law applied to individual sub-corpora instead of to the corpus as a whole. First name / last name searches could then be enabled with regard to the Fiction sub-corpus at least, and probably also to at least some of the others. 

This would not be a full solution, and would be of no help to someone who wanted to search for concordances of fictional, public, or otherwise non-living people in sub-corpora that include mentions of real, living, private citizens. That is certainly very annoying, although - with hindsight - it looks as if the problem could have been avoided by anonymising references to non-public living persons in the corpus itself, at the time when it was put together. I believe that my employing institution's ethics policy would have required that, for example.



On 28 Oct 2012, at 08:20, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
>        Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2012 13:49:47 +0200
>        From: Miran arnes <miran.hladnik at guest.arnes.si>
>        Subject: Public good vs. personal data protection
> Dear colleagues, 
> I am quite upset about the recent legal decisions in Slovenia to disable the
> name search in the national text corpora (e. g.
> http://bos.zrc-sazu.si/a_beseda.html), referring to the personal data
> protection law. The institutions that host databases followed the scribal
> interpretation of the law and prevented the user to find any combination of
> the first and the last name in the database. As it is impossible to separate
> dead from alive, and exclude public personalities and fictional characters,
> the user is handicapped when trying to get concordances concerning literary
> heroes, authors of fictional works, or any other Slovene person. 
> ...
> -- Miran
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