Josh Hovsha – ESR2

Josh Hovsha - ESR2
I am a South African activist with a passion for navigating issues of freedom of expression and privacy.
I have spent the better part of the last decade working on the ground on issues of government corruption, xenophobia, Gender-Based Violence and LGBTQ+ rights. I was even lucky enough to work on public interest litigation cases where we won significant victories in our Constitutional Court strengthening the separation of powers in South Africa.
The Highlight of my career has been helping to bring a Hate Crimes Bill to South Africa’s parliament after a decade of societal organizing.
In this work have seen first-hand the vital importance of policy questions on privacy, information management and freedom of expression on online platforms. I have had the privilege of working with activists whose own data privacy is paramount to their ongoing work. Political dissidents from the Middle East and Africa for whom privacy is a watchword. Breaches to their data privacy often result in physical danger and the loss of liberty. I now spend my time trying to strengthen these rights for all.

My Research

Introduced in 2016 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) marked a significant paradigm shift in the balance between individual privacy on one side and the increasingly entwined forces of multi-national tech commerce and government surveillance. At the core of GDPR lies the principle of granting true ownership of one’s own personal data to the individual.
Yet this aim is often lost amidst a world of privacy policies and complex data flows. What is more, there are numerous legal responsibilities for protecting rights which fall onto small companies and even individuals who are not aware of their legal obligations.
This PhD seeks to redress the gap between legal intention and practical experience. Specifically, I aim to model relationships between individuals and data controllers to allow for deeper legal and ethical analysis of data flows. Clear modelling of data flows facilitates a key purpose of the GDPR, giving individuals real and meaningful control of their personal data. This modelling can increase transparency for individuals and thus strengthen consent.
You can find some of my non-academic writing at here and my posts for PROTECT here.

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