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Mercedes Pérez Manzano

Protection of Personal Data: Challenges to the Criminal System

Social Sciences Conference Wednesday, June 26 19:30 hours Madrid

Conferences Cycle: "The rigt to the protection of personal data in the digital society"

General information:

Venue: Fundación Ramón Areces - salón de actos. Calle Vitruvio, 5. 28006. Madrid.

Free admission. Necessary previous online registration. Limited capacity.


María Emilia Casas BaamondeSocial Science Council Fundación Ramón Areces.

  • Description
  • Programme

New digital technologies generate large amounts of data relating to people, whose knowledge and use pose obvious risks to their rights and freedoms, in particular for their fundamental rights to privacy and the protection of personal data, and, therefore, for democratic constitutional systems in digitalized societies. The Organic Law 3/2018, of December 5, develops the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 (GDPR), in what affects the right to data protection personal and, in addition, includes what he calls digital rights in relation to the internet, social networks or other digital devices. The conferences that make up this cycle, given by leading specialists, will address the normative treatment of these rights, of unquestionable transnational character, unraveling and valuing the guarantees raised in their defense by European and domestic law before the unstoppable technological innovation and its challenges, and the effectiveness of these guarantees. In all areas where people's lives unfold without exception. The protection of Criminal Law of the use of personal information presents an undeniable importance, while that personal information is necessary to organize policies of criminal investigations for the prevention of international crime. The specific projection of privacy and digital rights in companies in relation to the use of digital devices, video surveillance, sound recording or geolocation systems will also deserve due attention in this cycle of conferences.

Wednesday, June, 26th

19:00 h.

Attendee check-in

19:30 h.

Protection of Personal Data: Challenges to the Criminal System

Mercedes Pérez Manzano
Catedrática de Derecho Penal de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Mercedes Pérez Manzano, is Full Professor of Criminal Law at the Law School, Universidad Autónoma Madrid, since June 2008, where she obtained her Ph. D. in Criminal Law (1989) and where she previously hold both positions as an Assistant Professor and an Associate Professor of Criminal Law. She has been DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) scholar at the Ludwig-Maximiliam University –Munich-, and Visiting Fellow at the Columbia University -New York-, the California University –Berkeley-, and the American University -Washington D.C.-. To her academic experience it should be added her professional activity as law clerk at the Spanish Constitutional Court (by Chief Justice Casas Baamonde) and her legal advice activity in Criminal Law firms (of counsel).

She has led five research projects financially supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education, the Observatory against Racism and Xenophobia (OBERAXE) and the Center of Political and Constitutional Studies –among other institutions-, and she has participated in more than ten others; she has written three monographs and numerous articles in Spanish and foreign academic journals, she is co-author of several Criminal Law handbooks and coordinator –with I. Borrajo- of The Spanish Constitution Commentaries in its XXX Anniversary, directed by Rodríguez Piñero and Casas Baamonde.

Currently, her main areas of research are: Constitutional Guaranties, Fundamental Rights and Criminal Law -in which context she has last edited the book Multilevel Protection of Legality Principle-; Neuroscience, Responsibility and Purposes of Criminal Punishment, in which framework she has published the paper “Ground and Purposes of the Criminal Law: a Revision from the Neuroscience”; and Gender and Criminal Law, were she has been doing research on partner femicide.

Finally, she was Vice-President of the Association of Law Clerks of the Constitutional Court, and she is a part of the advice and/or editorial board of some of the most prestigious scientific journals related to Criminal Law such as Anuario de Derecho Penal y Ciencias Penales; at the present, she is a member of the board of the School of Law and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.



The vertiginous technological development along with globalization have put personal data at permanent risk of being known, used and spread by unauthorized people all over the planet. Criminal Law contributes, in an essential way, to prevent those dangers by deterring -and sanctioning- citizens from committing acts that affect seriously the right of informational self-determination, or the right to decide and control the publicizing of personal data. The effective and fair fulfillment of these functions poses to the whole Criminal Law system novel and daunting challenges.

After concisely exposing the main legal features of the crimes that protect personal data, the presentation will focus on the analysis of some of these challenges. Firstly, the difficulties that police, prosecutors and judges face when they investigate transnational crimes will be explained as well as the legal and constitutional guarantees that are required for international transferring of personal data in the context of criminal investigations in the European Union. Secondly, the presentation will address the issues that the application of the Spanish Criminal Code raises when criminal conducts involve employer-employee relationships; particularly, the possible criminal responsibility of both, employers and workers, will be analyzed in the field of the so-called internal investigations.

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