Using health data in pandemics: the issues ahead


  • Paolo Guarda


  • Fedirica Lucivero
  • Iñigo de Miguel Beriain
  • Veronique Cimina
  • Ricardo Baeza-Yates

Organisation: Panelfit

Room: Online 4

Timing: 10:30 - 11:45 on 28 January 2021

In pandemic situations it is necessary to implement all the tools at our disposal to protect public health. This includes using personal data to prevent infection or to improve the diagnosis or treatment of the disease. In this panel we will discuss the ethical and legal issues involved. We will explore the legal bases that can be used for data processing, the rights of data subjects, the use of data for research, etc. We will also address a little-explored issue: the processing of medical records of deceased patients. This is a particularly complicated issue because the data of deceased people are not their personal data, according to the GDPR. Similarly, data from digital health tools offer problems of different kinds, such as the mixing of personal and non-personal data that have been insufficiently analysed.

• How can we deal with data produced by digital health devices?
• What are the legal issues involved in using AI in a pandemic situation?
• What should be the regulatory framework of health records of deceased people?
• What are the main issues involved in using health data for research purposes?


Paolo Guarda

Universita di Trento (IT)

Paolo Guarda, PhD in Comparative Private Law, is Assistant Professor of Comparative Law at the Faculty of Law - University of Trento. He teaches, among other courses, "Law and Data" and "Comparative Privacy Law" and, is the author of several articles about issues related to Digital Age Law (Privacy, Data Protection, Intellectual Property Rigts, etc.). He has been collaborating for years in digital health research activities, at national and international level. Web page:


Fedirica Lucivero

University of Oxford, UK

Iñigo de Miguel Beriain

University of the Basque Country, Spain

Veronique Cimina

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)(EU)

Veronique Cimina is a Legal Officer in the Policy & Consultation Unit at the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). She contributes to the work of the EDPS on providing advice to the European Commission and other EU Institutions and Bodies on legislative and policy proposals regarding data protection. Before that, she was a legal intern in the Supervision and Enforcement Unit at the EDPS and a legal assistant in private practice in Rome. Veronique holds a Master's degree in European Law from Leiden University (Netherlands) and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations from Università degli Studi Roma Tre in Rome (Italy).

Ricardo Baeza-Yates

Former CTO of NTENT (US)

Ricardo Baeza-Yates is Research Professor at the Roux Institute for Experiential Research of Northeastern University. Before, he was VP of Research at Yahoo Labs from 2006 to 2016. He is co-author of Modern Information Retrieval textbook published by Addison-Wesley in 1999 & 2011, that won the ASIST 2012 Book of the Year award. In 2009 he was named ACM Fellow and in 2011 IEEE Fellow, among other awards and distinctions. He obtained a Ph.D. in CS from the University of Waterloo, Canada, in 1989, and his areas of expertise are web search and data mining, information retrieval, bias on AI, data science and algorithms in general.