Review of Ass. Prof. Ferenc Szilágyi (PhD (University of Osnabrück), Assistant Professor, Department of Private Law, Faculty of Law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest)

I am a researcher at the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law of the University of Vienna since 1.7.2019 and holder of a PostDoc scholarship awarded by the Scholarship Foundation of the Republic of Austria. I am working on my second academic qualification work dealing with data ownership. My objective is to elaborate a European concept of a data right, avoiding a distinction between ‘personal data’’ and ‘non-personal data’. In my understanding data, as ‘the object’ of such a data right, is not information but bits, i.e. numbers, a sequence of ’zeros’ and ’ones’. Besides this understanding of data, other challenge is to work out principles for the allocation of a data right, most probably linked to the reference point (e.g. a person, a property right or a personal right, etc.) of the particular data, while if there apply several reference points, the allocation of the data right will be determined according to the normative hierarchy between the reference points. Another crucial issue is the elaboration of the content of the possible data right.

The Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law of Professor Forgó at the University of Vienna provides an excellent and extremely stimulating environment to realise my work. Not least because of the Department’s truly international and friendly team. Professor Forgó’s Department is unique in this part of Europe. An important feature of the Department is that it addresses the challenges brought by digitalisation and new technologies for the law comprehensively and also from interdisciplinary perspective. Working on legal issues related to digitalisation and innovation is hardly possible without understanding of the relevant technology behind. The Department’s team is working on a number of very interesting and exciting projects with European and Global relevance. I learned a lot from discussions with various members of the team as well as during the Department’s regular meetings (‘jour fixes’). It is also worth mentioning that the Professor Forgó’s Department is located in the heart of Vienna. I am very happy to be here.