In this edition, the Law Department presents the research of Tommaso Fia, an Italian alumnus who defended his thesis titled 'Regulating Non-personal Data in the EU: Law, Governance and Justifications', under the supervision of Law Emeritus Professor Peter Drahos.
Holding a Master's degree in Law from the University of Turin and an LLM in Comparative, European, and International Laws, Tommaso's academic journey is further enriched by his experience as a trainee lawyer in an international law firm in Milan, where he provided advice on data protection matters.
Tommaso's doctoral thesis investigates the governance of non-personal data in the EU. The central inquiry driving his research is the regulation of non-personal data to address interpersonal and social injustices in data governance. His research unveils competing normative approaches to regulating data, ranging from market-friendly to those emphasising human flourishing and political participation. The primary contribution of Tommaso's thesis lies in proposing a just data governance system for the EU, treating non-personal data as a commons, emphasising democratic participation, positing access rights, circumscribing data uses, and enhancing fair value distribution.
The inspiration for Tommaso's thesis arose from his studies in intellectual property law and data protection at the University of Turin. His professional experience advising clients on data protection matters further fueled his interest in these topics. The evolving landscape of information technology, including Big Data, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence, prompted him to submit a research proposal to the EUI. Based on the findings of the thesis, he recommends further academic and policy research on democracy and social justice in data governance.
Reflecting on his time at the EUI, a humorous anecdote stands out. In order to make it to the February Paper Workshop on time, he unexpectedly found himself hitchhiking! Another of Tommaso's fondest memories at the EUI includes getting to know his partner and making friends who became an integral part of his experience. Engaging in musical pursuits, such as playing the piano in bands with fellow researchers, provided a unique outlet for creativity and camaraderie.
Looking ahead, Tommaso aspires to pursue a career in academia or to engage in policy research institutions. In the coming months, he plans to transform his PhD thesis into a monograph while continuing his research on justice and democracy in data governance, the commons, trade secrecy, and their implications for EU private law. Currently, Tommaso is a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tübingen.