Ronan Fahy


Should We Regulate Digital Platforms? A New Framework for Evaluating Policy Options

Fahy, R.

Gorp, N. van

Nooren, P.

van Eijk, N.

The economic and societal impact of digital platforms raises a number of questions for policymakers, including whether existing regulatory approaches and instruments are sufficient to promote and safeguard public interests. This article develops a practical framework that provides structure and guidance to policymakers who design policies for the digital economy. The framework differs from other approaches in taking the digital business models of platforms as the starting point for the analysis. The framework consists of three pillars, namely determining a platform's characteristics, relating these to public interests, and formulating policy options. The framework then invokes a return‐path analysis for assessing how the interventions affect the business model, whether it has the desired effect on public interests, and ensuring it has no undesired side‐effects on public interests. The framework puts forward two key messages for current discussions on digital platforms. First, one should look at the underlying characteristics of platforms rather than trying to understand digital platforms as a single category. Second, policymakers should explore existing rules and policy options, as they seem fit to deal with several characteristics of digital platforms in a time frame that matches the rapid development of platform technologies and business models.


Open Journalism: The Road Travelled and the Road Ahead

Fahy, R.

Hanhart, M.

Klus, M.

Kostić, B.

McGonagle, T.

Plaizier, C.

Vienna, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, 2018.


Online Political Microtargeting: Promises and Threats for Democracy

Bodó, B.

Dobber, T.

Fahy, R.

Irion, K.

Kruikemeier, S.

Möller, J.

Vreese, C.H. de

Zuiderveen Borgesius, F.

Online political microtargeting involves monitoring people’s online behaviour, and using the collected data, sometimes enriched with other data, to show people-targeted political advertisements. Online political microtargeting is widely used in the US; Europe may not be far behind. This paper maps microtargeting’s promises and threats to democracy. For example, microtargeting promises to optimise the match between the electorate’s concerns and political campaigns, and to boost campaign engagement and political participation. But online microtargeting could also threaten democracy. For instance, a political party could, misleadingly, present itself as a different one-issue party to different individuals. And data collection for microtargeting raises privacy concerns. We sketch possibilities for policymakers if they seek to regulate online political microtargeting. We discuss which measures would be possible, while complying with the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights.


Media coverage of elections: the legal framework in Europe

Apa, E.

Bassini, M.

Bruna, A.

Cabrera Blázquez, F.

Cunningham, I.

Etteldorf, C.

Fahy, R.

Goldberg, D.

Granchet, A.

Klimkiewicz, B.

Richter, A.

Rozendaal, M.

IRIS Special, 2017-1, European Audiovisual Observatory, Strasbourg, ISBN: 9789287184870


The Chilling Effect of Liability for Online Reader Comments

Fahy, R.

This article assesses how the European Court of Human Rights has responded to the argument that holding online news media liable for reader comments has a chilling effect on freedom of expression. The article demonstrates how the Court first responded by dismissing the argument, and focused on the apparent lack of evidence for any such chilling effect. The article then argues that the Court has moved away from its initial rejection, and now accepts that a potential chilling effect, even without evidence, is integral to deciding whether online news media should be liable for reader comments. Finally, the article argues that this latter view is consistent with the Court’s precedent in other areas of freedom of expression law where a similar chilling effect may also arise.


An Assessment of the Commission's Proposal on Privacy and Electronic Communications

Fahy, R.

Irion, K.

Rozendaal, M.

van Hoboken, J.

Zuiderveen Borgesius, F.

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, appraises the European Commission’s proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation. The study assesses whether the proposal would ensure that the right to the protection of personal data, the right to respect for private life and communications, and related rights enjoy a high standard of protection. The study also highlights the proposal’s potential benefits and drawbacks more generally.


Annotatie bij Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens 20 september 2016 (Van Beukering & Het Parool / Nederland)

Beer, K.E.A. de

Fahy, R.

De zaak Van Beukering en Het Parool B.V. t. Nederland betreft de publicatie van een portret zonder toestemming van de geportretteerde. Het Parool had een artikel geplaatst over het strafproces inzake een rapper die werd verdacht van het plegen van een aantal misdrijven. Bij het artikel had Parool een foto geplaatst van de rapper. De foto was afkomstig uit een documentaire over de rapper “R.P.,” waar hij een aantal jaar eerder aan had meegewerkt. De documentaire werd in het artikel uitvoerig besproken. De documentaire stond op het moment van publicatie nog online. Het gaat in deze zaak om de vraag of Het Parool onrechtmatig heeft gehandeld door de foto van de rapper te publiceren. Het EHRM overweegt dat een afweging moet worden gemaakt tussen twee fundamentele rechten: het recht op eerbiediging van privéleven (art. 8 EVRM) van de rapper en het recht op vrijheid van meningsuiting (art. 10 EVRM) van Het Parool. Het Hof stelt vast dat de Hoge Raad geen onredelijke conclusie heeft getrokken door in dit geval art. 8 EVRM te laten prevaleren. Het Hof verklaart het verzoekschrift van Van Beukering en Het Parool niet-ontvankelijk.


Digital platforms: an analytical framework for identifying and evaluating policy options

Eijk, N. van

Fahy, R.

Gelevert, H.

Nooren, P.

Stokking, H.

Til, H. van

TNO-rapport 2015, R11271. Bijlage bij <a href="" target="_blank">kamerbrief</a> over toekomstbestendige wetgeving.

Kader om beleidsopties ten aanzien van 'digitale platforms' te analyseren.


Clinical Legal Education: A Review of the Literature

Fahy, R.

van Eechoud, M.

iLINC (ICT Law Incubators Network), September 2015.


Establishing Links to Learning

Fahy, R.

van Eechoud, M.

iLINC (ICT Law Incubators Network), Work Package 3, September 2015.


Political Advertising Bans and Freedom of Expression

Fahy, R.

In Animal Defenders International v UK, the 17-judge Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK’s ban on political advertising on television, as applied to an animal rights organisation, did not violate freedom of expression. The Court divided nine votes to eight, with the majority opinion abandoning the Court’s previous ‘strict scrutiny’ review, and laying down a new doctrine for reviewing political advertising bans. This article, first, examines the role the composition of the Grand Chamber played in the outcome of the case. Second, questions the basis of the new doctrine of review. And third, criticises the majority’s treatment of precedent.


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