Sharon Galantino (UCD-Roma Tre University Doctoral Scholar)
Supervisor(s): Dr TJ McIntyre, Professor Vincenzo Zeno-Zencovich
Thesis Title: European Regulation of Online Electoral Disinformation
Abstract: What issues do attempts to counter electoral disinformation online present for fundamental rights and the rule of law? From the Brexit referendum onwards, allegations of electoral disinformation, sometimes coupled with foreign interference, have been levelled by politicians, journalists, and European voters. In 2018, the European Commission adopted a definition of ‘disinformation’ applicable to election periods, but it has no legal grounding. Technology firms apply their own interpretations of ‘disinformation’ with little transparency or access to fair procedures.
I critically evaluate the term ‘disinformation’ used in electoral contexts, particularly the processes which define, identify, and suppress it. How is freedom of political expression impacted? What privacy rights issues arise? Do technology firms’ opaque methods to counter electoral disinformation entrench the firms’ values of political expression and privacy across Europe? Finally, in its effort to counter electoral disinformation, should the Commission’s strategy of voluntary self-regulation for technology firms be reformed?
This research is the first to evaluate the tools used to counter electoral disinformation against a detailed European human rights analysis within a broader science, technology, and society (STS) framework. Its findings will inform development of the European strategy to counter electoral disinformation.
Sharon Galantino is a PhD candidate at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin. She holds the UCD-Roma Tre University doctoral scholarship which advances research into the challenges of transnational regulation. Her research interests include online regulation, freedom of expression, the right to privacy, and science, technology, and society (STS) studies.
Sharon holds a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, a Master of Laws (LLM) in international human rights, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in government and world affairs. As a law student, she was an active member of the moot court board and a student editor of an international law journal.
Sharon is a qualified member of the Florida Bar with prior professional experience as a writer and editor for print and online publications. She tutors undergraduate modules in Constitutional Frameworks, Constitutional Rights, and Mooting and Advocacy, and regularly serves as a judge in legal advocacy competitions, including the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, UCLA Law National Trial Advocacy Competition, US National Pretrial Competition, and the New York City Bar National Moot Court Competition.