While an exponential number of comprehensive data protection laws are currently in place across the globe, with a rapid expansion in Global South countries, it is important to note that specific social, political and legal contexts also translate into different values and priorities, and that the path towards what would constitute meaningful privacy/ data protection can vary. On the one hand, a vibrant field of comparative study of data protection regimes around the world has been emerging, not least in the drive for regulatory convergence - particularities must be carefully understood for common solutions to arise. At the same time, and perhaps more interesting, are the examples found in other, broader, strategies to not only deal with eventual data processing implications on individual data subject’s rights, but rather the wide implications of datafication processes over individuals, collectives, public-private relationships, political regimes, etc. Throughout the extremely diverse countries and regions that make up the so-called Global South, histories of political and social struggles have given rise to legal strategies to counter violations of privacy and data protection by way of defending other fundamental rights, such as due process and civil rights, in general. More recently, strategic litigation to counter surveillance and privacy harming practices has leaned on constitutional provisions (both data protection and otherwise) where data protection legal regimes may not be fully applicable. The panel will seek to explore the underlying questions around constitutionalization of data rights and what that entails for meaningful data protection and strategic litigation. Some of the questions that will be discussed are:
• What are the gains, in practice, of inscribing data protection in constitutional provisions when it comes to enforcing rights?
• Considering in some legal regimes data protection is a corollary of other fundamental rights and values, how can strategic litigation at the constitutional level be effective?
• Are the concepts of datafication and data justice useful to describe and address how information capitalism is reshaping and reinforcing the asymmetry of power in the relationships between citizens, governments and corporations? How does that play, if at all, into legal debates?
• What lessons can be derived from the experiences of strategic litigation to protect privacy and data protection (in all countries/regions represented in the panel)?