Silvia De Conca

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I am a legal scholar investigating the interaction of new techonlogies with individuals and society, mixing the law with other disciplines, and exploring empirical methods.

Send me an email if you want to talk about deceptive design/dark patterns,  privacy & data protection, smart home/IoT, or regulation of technology in general. I am always happy to exchange ideas with colleagues from every discipline! 

I am Assistant Professor in Law & Tech (Transnational Legal Studies department) and a board member of the Amsterdam Law and Technology Institute (ALTI) at VU.

Together with Prof. Tarlach Mc Gonagle, I co-chair of the Human Rights in the Digital Age group of the Nederlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR, Asser Institute).

At VU, I have also joined the Outreach&Transfer team of the Network Institute and the management of the Demonstrator Lab. 

I have a PhD in Tech Law from Tilburg University, an LL.M. in IT law from the London School of Economics (UK), an LLM in comparative & international law and an LLM from Roma Tre University (IT). Before moving to the NL I have practiced the law in international law firms in Rome and Milan, and I have thaught IT law and IP law at the Tec de Monterrey University (Mexico).  


The thing that fascinates me the most is the regulation of undersired effects deriving from human-machine interaction. In this regard, I am now embarking on a new research project, concerning persuasive design features of digital products (social netowrks, webshops and videogames) that can manipulate or steer the decisions and choices of users. I intend to identify which aspects of persuasive design are relevant for the European regulator, and how to regulate them, using both traditional and empirical legal research methods.   

My general research interests include law of AI and robotics, Privacy and Data Protection, IoTs and smart home, and regulation of new technologies in general. My framework is mostly European Union law and fundamental rights, sometimes exploring different approaches, such as the use of human-centered design in the law, and empirical legal analysis.   

My PhD research focused on smart speakers, the effects they can have on the conceptualization of the private sphere, and the protection offered by the GDPR. It was conducted integrating a classing legal research with multidiscplinary resources, including history, philosophy, behavioural sciences, computer sciences and behavioural design. In parallel I have also investigated issues connected to privacy in public and the use of social networks for 'naming-and-shaming' by public officials, the evolution of privacy and data protection in Europe (and outside), as well as a European legislative framework for the responsibility gap in case of damages caused by AI systems.  


PhD in Law & Tech from Tilburg University (Tilburg)

LL.M. in IT Law from the London School of Economics - LSE (London)

LL.M. in Comparative and International Law from Roma Tre University (Rome)

LL.B. in Law from Roma Tre University (Rome)

Prizes and Awards

Best Paper Award at the IFIP Summer School on Smart Home and Identity (JRC, Ispra, 2017)

Ancillary activities

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Academic qualification

Law & Technology, PhD, Tilburg University, Tilburg


Award Date: 23 Jun 2021

IT Law, Master, The London School of Economics and Political Science


Comparative & International Law, Master, Roma Tre University


Law, Bachelor, Roma Tre University



  • K Law (General)

User created Keywords

  • IT Law
  • Law of AI/robotics
  • Regulation of technology
  • Privacy
  • Data protection law
  • GDPR
  • Manipulation
  • Nudge
  • deceptive design
  • dark patterns


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