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Sara Degli Esposti

Research student

Sara Degli Esposti is affiliated with The Open University's Department of People and Organisations.

You can email Sara Degli Esposti directly; but for media enquiries please contact a member of The Open University's Media Relations team.


Sara has engaged in research in social sciences since she was an undergraduate student. As a result of her innate curiosity she is keen on learning and applying novel approaches and methods, and she is not afraid of moving to new research fields. In fact, Sara has been trained both in sociology (BA) and business economics (MSc), and she is also a member of the Society for Social Studies of Science. Her current research interests focus on business and users’ concerns about information management and control. Sara’s work contribute to, and is sponsored by, “The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting” project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Current research

From Dataveillance to Data Economy: Firm View on Data Protection

The proliferation of online products and services, the availability and low storage-cost of digital data, and the increasing sophistication of human and automated data mining capacities, have all contributed to leverage business intelligence and analytics till reaching the point of becoming novel distinctive sources of competitive advantage. Besides a number of advantages coming along the digital and analytics revolution, controversial aspects emerge as a result of the data collection and processing procedures applied. Since 1995 institutions based in Europe that process individuals’ data must comply with EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) and subsequent national regulations. The debate is articulated between privacy advocates and regulators concerned about ensuring the respect of citizens’ information self-determination rights, and business representatives who consider over-regulation a serious threat to economic and business development.

The present study aims at exploring the possibility of reconciling these positions by showing the value-added facets of data protection. Starting from the assumption that security breaches are especially disruptive for the reputation of those companies that work in data intense environments, such as the financial or security industries, the present study investigates the relationship between a company’s ability to use analytics for extracting value from data and a deep and articulated integration of data protection principles into a company’s information management strategy. The research is meant to provide a fresh view on how to solve practical problems related to the current implementation of the law and to identify mechanisms for making data processors more accountable towards society.