Are emotions personal data?


From the The 10th international Computers, Privacy & Data Protection (CPDP) Conference in Brussels

organised by KU Leuven Center for IT &IP Law

Chair Damian Clifford, CiTiP KU Leuven (BE)

Moderator Brendan Van Alsenoy, Belgian Privacy Commission (BE)

Panel Orla Lynskey, London School of Economics (UK), Andrew McStay, Bangor University

(UK), Gawain Morrison, Sensum (IE), Anne-Lise Sibony, Université catholique de Louvain (BE)

Technological developments are now rendering it possible to detect emotions. The use of such technologies raises legal-ethical questions from a privacy and data protection perspective. This panel will focus on the use of such technologies for marketing and advertising purposes. The panel will incorporate an analysis of the broader consumer protection and ethical concerns. This is significant as, although in an advertising context the role of emotions has been recognised as significant for many years, such developments may bring the salience of rationality-based protections in consumer protection into question. In particular the panel will explore following questions:

  • What commercial value do emotion detection technologies bring?

  • Are emotions personal data?

  • How do the use of such technologies relate to the notion of fairness? Does consent to personalisation equal consent to emotion monetisation?

  • What could this mean for regulatory inventions and the role of consumer protection?


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