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Digital Vulnerability in European Private Law

Digital Vulnerability in European Private Law

Digital Vulnerability in European Private Law

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Digital Vulnerability in European Private Law

15 and 16 June 2023
University of Ferrara
Department of Law, Aula Magna
Corso Ercole I d’Este 37, Ferrara


Vulnerability has emerged in legal discourse, in dialogue with other disciplines, as a useful
concept to capture the fluid and multilayered nature of the human condition and to question the
adequacy of some foundational legal and policy norms.
Yet, despite the potential of the notion of vulnerability as a key tool to overcome the limits of
legal formalism and paternalism and to foster substantive equality, the legal status and effects of the
notion under domestic and European laws are still quite unclear. In particular, the notion of people’s
vulnerability has only seldom been applied to the specific forms of exposure to harm that might arise
from interaction with digital technologies.
In our current and pervasively digitalized world, we believe it is increasingly important to
analyze how digital technologies impact preexisting forms of vulnerability or create new ones, and
to understand how the law can prevent or address unequal experiences of technology. This is what
we plan to do with our project ‘Digital Vulnerability in European Private Law’ (DiVE), funded by
the Italian Ministry of University and Research from June 2022 to May 2025. The DiVE project aims
to investigate the notion of digital vulnerability by exploring how this notion stands vis-à-vis
traditional paradigms of protection of weaker parties (such as rules on incapacity, consumer
protection, data protection, anti-discrimination, equality before the law) and to what extent it might
properly capture risks and harms stemming from digital technologies.
The project aims in particular at identifying the factual conditions in which digital
technologies – from the web to social media, from platforms to Artificial Intelligence and Distributed
Ledger Technologies – might prove disruptive and challenging for people, and in assessing under
which conditions, how and to what extent the notion of digital vulnerability might be translated into
claims for special legal protection.



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Data e ora

15-06-2023 08:00 to
16-06-2023 18:00


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