Exploring The Meaning Of The ‘The Public Domain’ From The Juridical, Individual And Temporal Perspectives

The meaning of The Public Domain is central to many aspects of the information age, including the proper working of open government, where it informs the review of public records and handling of personal data in archives; the security of individuals’ personal data; and the commercial interests of an increasingly data-driven economy. It is also subject to legal compliance demands e.g. Freedom of Information. However, despite its importance the concept is complex and ill-defined in law and in practice. There is no satisfactory legal definition of The Public Domain, little public discourse, and no public consensus on what it is. Determining whether personal data is already in The Public Domain, and whether that is sufficient justification to publish or keep records closed, is complex and surrounded by difficult ethical and juridical considerations, which are further compounded by technological change. This PhD will therefore examine the meaning of The Public Domain in the context of personal information in archival records, and how in practice it can be determined in individual cases.
The student will gain access to senior members of the Judiciary, members of the UK Constitutional Law Group, serving/ex-members of the Lord Chancellors Advisory Council on Public Records, sensitivity reviewers, and expertise in data protection legislation. The aim is that the findings will support national archives, such as TNA, to make better decisions on the safe and consistent opening of personal records for research and public scrutiny.
Further information is available at: http://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=61947&LID=2317

However Prof Julie McLeod, julie.mcleod@northumbria.ac.uk or Prof Michael Moss michael.moss@northumbria.ac.uk, will be happy to answers any enquiries.

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