School of Law

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Dr Subhajit Basu's Publications


  • Basu S, Munns C, Privacy and Healthcare Data: Choice of Control to Choice and Control (Routledge Ashgate, 2015)

    Author URL []

    In order for the information society to realise its full potential, personal data has to be disclosed, used and often shared. This book explores the disclosure and sharing of data within the area of healthcare. Including an overview of how health information is currently managed, the authors argue that with changes in modern society, the idea of personal relationships with a local GP who solely holds and controls your health records is becoming rapidly outdated. The authors aim to encourage and empower patients to make informed choices about sharing their health data. They do this by developing a three-stage theoretical model for change to the roles of the NHS and the individual. The study generates debate to stimulate and inspire new models and policy, and to provoke new visions for the sharing of healthcare data. Such discussion is framed through an exploration of the changing concept of 'privacy' and 'patient control' in healthcare information management. The volume draws on best practices from Europe and the USA and combines these to form a suggested vision for the UK as an early adopter of change. The volume will be essential reading for academics in the field of privacy and data protection, as well as healthcare and informatics professionals across different jurisdictions.

  • Basu S, Global Perspectives on E-Commerce Taxation Law, Markets and the Law (Ashgate, 2007), 1-344

    Author URL []

    It is trite, but true, that taxation of e-commerce is a major concern for international agencies and tax authorities worldwide. In its most advanced form e-commerce allows unidentified purchasers to pay obscure vendors, in ‘electronic cash,’ for products that are often goods, services, and licenses all rolled into one. A payee may be no more than a computer that can take up `residence’ anywhere at the drop of a hat; national boundaries are of no consequence whatsoever. The book looks at the implications of the growth of e-commerce for domestic and international tax systems. It covers a wide array of activities such as discussions on the basic principles that govern direct and indirect taxes, overview of the technological changes that have brought about e-commerce, a concise explanation of how and what happens when e-commerce is conducted, examination of the ways in which businesses are using the new technology in conducting their everyday activities, discussion of the application of existing tax principles to e-commerce, exploration of questions and problems raised by applying tax rules that evolved before e-commerce, and observations and suggestions for a variety of approaches to international tax problems resulting from e-commerce and the associated benefits and problems, since the implications of e-commerce vary from industry to industry, it focus on the broader issues. This book also analyses a number of fast-moving trends in the behaviour of national taxation authorities, web-based companies, certain low-tax (or no-tax) jurisdictions, and international organizations that have significant bearing on the future development of the taxation of e-commerce principally influence of economic organisations like OECD, WTO and EU, in particular the influential OECD ongoing study and the latest and most up to date development in OECD and European Community. It examines how US domestic and international tax rules are being interpreted and adopted in the effort to accommodate e-commerce. How VAT rules in EU countries and other jurisdictions are being restructured. It looks into the issues of revenue loss, specifically into the danger of revenue loss for developing countries. The book also offer solutions and future trends in this field.

Journal articles

  • Basu S, Omotubora A, Beeson M, Fox C, ‘Legal framework for small autonomous agricultural robots’, AI and Society 2018, 1-22 (Accepted)
    DOI: 10.1007/s00146-018-0846-4, Repository URL:

    © 2018 The Author(s) Legal structures may form barriers to, or enablers of, adoption of precision agriculture management with small autonomous agricultural robots. This article develops a conceptual regulatory framework for small autonomous agricultural robots, from a practical, self-contained engineering guide perspective, sufficient to get working research and commercial agricultural roboticists quickly and easily up and running within the law. The article examines the liability framework, or rather lack of it, for agricultural robotics in EU, and their transpositions to UK law, as a case study illustrating general international legal concepts and issues. It examines how the law may provide mitigating effects on the liability regime, and how contracts can be developed between agents within it to enable smooth operation. It covers other legal aspects of operation such as the use of shared communications resources and privacy in the reuse of robot-collected data. Where there are some grey areas in current law, it argues that new proposals could be developed to reform these to promote further innovation and investment in agricultural robots.

  • Omotubora A, Basu S, ‘Regulation for E-payment Systems: Analytical Approaches Beyond Private Ordering’, Journal of African Law 2018, 1-33 (Accepted)
    DOI: 10.1017/S0021855318000104, Repository URL:

    Copyright © SOAS, University of London 2018 Technology-driven payment instruments and services are facilitating the development of e-commerce; however, security concerns beleaguer their implementation, particularly in developing countries. This article considers the limits of private ordering in the regulation of e-payment systems. It uses Nigeria to exemplify a developing country that is increasingly pushing for the adoption of a regulatory framework for e-payment systems based on private ordering. It argues that, although technical standards and self-regulation by the financial industry are important, law is an essential regulatory mechanism that is largely absent. The article proposes that law be used as a mechanism to set and compel compliance with technical and industry standards, thus building trust, catering to public interest concerns and legitimizing the regulatory process.

  • Basu S, ‘International Direct Taxation and E-Commerce: A Catalyst for Reform?’, NUJS Law Review, 10.1 (2017), 19-48
    Repository URL:

    This article critically analyses the challenges e-commerce poses to the traditional source- and residence-based taxation systems. It presents an exploratory study of two fundamental taxation principles that apply to international transactions in general and, more specifically, to e-commerce: the choice of residence-based or source-based taxation in governing the tax treatment of both domestic income accruing to non-residents and foreign income accruing to residents; and use of permanent establishment (PE) status in instituting the economic nexus required to assert jurisdiction over tax business profits. It is argued that in the interpretation and application of the rules, a clear distinction should be made between conceptual and practical issues. While there may be overlap between them, distinct issues exist regarding the normative questions of how and where profits arising from e-commerce should best be taxed as a matter of principle, as well as how such taxes should be implemented. The formulary apportionment of income earned by e-commerce business based on an economically justifiable formula provides a viable solution.

  • Basu S, Malik R, ‘BIG Data: A Challenge to Data Protection?’, India Law Journal 2016
    Repository URL:

    Big data’ in India is set to get ‘bigger’ with the recent launch of Reliance Jio. Through Jio, Reliance is targeting mid-to-low end customers and is striving to digitize millions in rural India by providing them data connectivity at low prices. As customers line in queues to join Jio, the rise in digital adoption is expected to result in greater content consumption and more digital transactions. This upsurge in data usage would yield an exponential increase in the quantity of big data generated. Jio intends to maximize growth and competitiveness by exploiting big data.

  • Munns C, Basu S, ‘The NHS information revolution: 'choice of control' to 'choice' and 'control’, International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, 27.1-2 (2013), 124-160
    DOI: 10.1080/13600869.2013.764132

    This paper provides a novel and critical analysis of the necessary and important balance between 'individual privacy' and 'collective transparency'. We suggest that the onset of the Information Revolution has created a dilemma for the National Health Service (NHS) in terms of how it addresses its obligation to use information to improve best practice in healthcare for society ('collective transparency') whilst also keeping sensitive personal information confidential ('individual privacy'). There is clearly a need to consider both whether the NHS is balancing this critically important informational relationship and whether its approach is fit for purpose. We argue that the NHS's 'proxy-individual' information guardian role could inadvertently mask individuals' intended roles, effectively circumventing autonomy-based laws by limiting the power of individuals to be autonomous. In this article we have identified three issues-first the prevailing 'Mindset' (the 'M') of 'privacy', which is viewed as individualistic, resulting in an overpowering concept of confidentiality; second, the quality and control of Information (the first 'I'); and third, the concept of innovation (the second 'i'), which is being used as a 'solution' rather than a vehicle for transparency. Indeed, transparency is our target of 'best practice,' and we suggest that individual privacy and collective transparency are best embedded within a complementary privacy framework that offers a better fit than the current split of control between the roles of the NHS and the roles of the individual. It is suggested that when facilitated by transparency, 'control' and 'privacy' form a continuum, aligning through the desire for choice. Therefore, the choice of control could facilitate control and choice. Together, they could replace the concept of privacy by empowering 'informed patients' to support the NHS's 'No decision about me, without me' pledge. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

  • Basu S, ‘Stalking the Stranger in Web 2.0: A Contemporary Regulatory Analysis’, European Journal of Law and Technology, 3.2 (2012), 1-36

    Author URL []

    In this article, a virtual, community-based concept of regulation is developed to regulate cyberstalking in Web 2.0. Such a concept offers a novel approach based on three elements fundamental to the discussion of regulation of cyberstalking: (1) the differences between physical stalking and cyberstalking; (2) the character of a virtual community and the effects of social interactions; and (3) the scope of experience and reality. This formulation is based on an expansive view of regulation and “normativity” of a virtual community. The author advocates the formation of codes of conduct based on the “rights and responsibilities” discourse, termed here as “protocols,” which reflect optimal sociological conceptions. The philosophical underpinning of protocols recognises the value of community, essentially the connection between individuals and their community. As such, these protocols will assist in the formation of private laws that are practical and acceptable within the virtual community. The aim of this concept of regulation is to ensure that cyberspace remains a lawful and socially useful space.

  • Basu S, ‘Privacy Protection: A Tale of Two Cultures’, Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology, 6.1 (2012), 1-34

    The paper provides a novel and critical analysis of privacy as an instrumental notion within social and cultural contexts. The argument suggests there is much utility in a novel multiple-perspective approach to the study of privacy in a socio-legal context. It questions our assumptions about privacy by looking to a differing privacy culture - that of the India. It examines the Indian perception of privacy based on India's cultural values and offers an explanation for why India's concept of privacy is beyond the often dominated public-private dichotomy and why it has implicitly or explicitly affected the agenda for privacy theory by placing some issues in the limelight while leaving others backstage. The importance of the argument is due to its critical assessment of the current European approach (from the EC, ECJ and ECHR) where privacy is regarded as an inalienable right with a concrete psychological foundation. I argue that privacy interests are far more extensive and deeper than the European definition which can at best capture only some of the issues which require elucidation when we litigate over privacy.

  • Basu S, Duffy J, Pearson K, ‘Older people and legal advice – the need for joined up and creative approaches’, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 34.1 (2012), 31-37
    DOI: 10.1080/09649069.2012.675463, Repository URL:

    This paper reports the findings from research conducted with older people in Northern Ireland which investigated whether their needs for legal information and advice were being met. One of the unique aspects of the research involved investigating the potential of the internet as a possible source for advising older people in relation to legal problems. The findings suggest that on-line legal information may frequently assist older people in identifying potential answers to their legal questions, but may not be an adequate substitute for personal communication and advice. The research also highlights the need for professionals to work together to meet the needs of older persons for legal advice and to safeguard their interests. Such “joined up” approaches are particularly important, for example, at the point of dementia diagnosis, where information sharing between health and social care professionals may significantly promote the legal and welfare interests of the older person at a vulnerable point in their lives. This paper therefore turns to work by university-based legal clinics in the United States, such as the Elder law Clinic at Pennsylvania State University, where social work or health care professionals, lawyers and law students collaborate to support older people in their search for resolution of legal problems.

  • Basu S, Duffy J, ‘Providing Legal Information and Advice to Older People: as much a question of accessibility as affordability’, European Journal of Law and Technology, 1.3 (2010), 1-32
    Repository URL:

    No continent has as high a proportion of older people as Europe. In this paper, we report the findings of an empirical project examining the legal advice needs of older people. An important element of the project also sought information about the capacity of the internet for meeting the legal advice needs of older people. Overall our findings broadly indicate considerable failings in legal information provision for older people from more traditional advice sources. Whilst we have uncovered some examples of individualised good practice,our research in the main revealed an alarming sense of fear, mistrust, uncertainty and ambivalence among older people towards accessing legal advice. The research was funded by the Changing Ageing Partnership (CAP). We believe our findings have broad implications and applicability across Europe.

  • Basu S, ‘Policy Making, Technology and Privacy in India’, The Indian Journal of Law and Technology, 6.1 (2010), 65-88

    There is a preconceived assumption that privacy laws in India are notoriously weak. This unquestioned assumption is based on a paradigm that does not take into consideration that the conception of privacy in India is influenced by its ‘culture of trust.’ Unfortunately, rather than looking into the specific societal, political and economic factors triggering the controversy, privacy researchers in the West have constantly varied the meaning and extent of the ‘right to privacy’ to bolster their argument. This article offers an explanation for why ‘umbrella’ data privacy legislation similar to the E.U. Data Protection Directive should not be enacted by India. This article further evaluates the argument that one’s private sphere is subjective and depends on one’s culture, environment and economic condition.

  • Basu S, ‘Direct Taxation and E-Commerce: Possibility and Desirability’, International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 1 (2010), 37-63
    DOI: 10.4018/jide.2010091503

    E-commerce poses significant challenges for existing tax rules. One of the most important effects of e-commerce has been to de-emphasise the significance of the place where economic activity is carried out, which makes it difficult to determine which jurisdiction has the right to tax. It has also blurred the traditional distinction between the form of delivery and the substance of what is delivered. Thus, the specific tax implications of e-commerce and the threat it imposes on the established tax systems can be examined by reference to how much e-commerce tends to disrupt the concepts and principles of direct taxation and international tax treaty rules. This article explores the effect of e-commerce on the principles of direct taxation. The question is should the tax system of the future be developed at a national or an international level?

  • Basu S, ‘Zappala, S., & Gray, C. (Eds.). (2006). Impact of E-commerce on Consumers and Small Firms’, Social Science Computer Review, 26.2 (2008), 264-265
    DOI: 10.1177/0894439307304516

  • Basu S, ‘International Taxation of E-Commerce: Persistent Problems and Possible Developments’, The Journal of Information, Law and Technology 2008, 1-31

    Author URL []

  • Basu S, ‘Offshore Outsourcing – How Safe is Your Data Abroad? Overview of Privacy, Data Protection and Security’, Global Jurist Topics, 6.2 (2007), 1-26

    Author URL []

  • Basu S, ‘Offshore Technology Outsourcing: Overview of Management and Legal Issues’, Business Process Management Journal, 13.1 (2007), 21-46

  • Basu S, Jones R, ‘Development of Information and Technology Law in Asia’, International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 19.2 (2005), 117-120
    DOI: 10.1080/13600860500140391

  • Basu S, Jones R, ‘Indian Information and Technology Act 2000: A Review of Regulatory Powers under the Act’, International Review of Law Computers and Technology, 19.2 (2005), 209-230

  • Basu S, ‘E-Government and Developing Countries: An Overview’, International Review of Law Computers and Technology, 18.1 (2004), 109-133
    DOI: 10.1080/13600860410001674779

    E‐governance is more than just a government website on the Internet. The strategic objective of e‐governance is to support and simplify governance for all parties; government, citizens and businesses. The use of ICTs can connect all three parties and support processes and activities. In other words, in e‐governance electronic means support and stimulate good governance. Therefore, the objectives of e‐governance are similar to the objectives of good governance. Good governance can be seen as an exercise of economic, political, and administrative authority to better manage affairs of a country at all levels. It is not difficult for people in developed countries to imagine a situation in which all interaction with government can be done through one counter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without waiting in lines. However to achieve this same level of efficiency and flexibility for developing countries is going to be difficult. The experience in developed countries shows that this is possible if governments are willing to decentralize responsibilities and processes, and if they start to use electronic means. This paper is going to examine the legal and infrastructure issues related to e‐governance from the perspective of developing countries. Particularly it will examine how far the developing countries have been successful in providing a legal framework.

  • Basu S, ‘Implementing E-Commerce Tax Policy’, British Tax Review 2004, 46-69

  • Basu S, ‘To tax or not to tax? That is the question? Overview of Options in Consumption Taxation of E-Commerce’, LAW/TECHNOLOGY, 37.2 (2004)

    Author URL []

  • Basu S, ‘To tax or not to tax? That is the question? Overview of Options in Consumption Taxation of E-Commerce’, The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT) 2004, 1-26

    Author URL []

  • Basu S, ‘Relevance of E-Commerce for Taxation: an Overview’, Global Jurist Topics, 3.3 (2003), 1-40

  • Basu S, Jones R, ‘E-Commerce and the Law: A Review of India’s Information Technology Act, 2000’, Contemporary South Asia, 12.1 (2003), 7-24

  • Basu S, Jones R, ‘Taxation of Electronic Commerce: A Developing Problem’, International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, Volume, 16.1 (2002), 35-52
    DOI: 10.1080/13600860220136093

  • Basu S, ‘VAT on Digital Sales’, The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT) 2002, 1-26

  • Basu S, ‘Human Genome and Patent’, International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 16 (2002), 339-357


  • Basu S, ‘Digital divide, digital ethics, and E-government’, in ICTs in Developing Countries: Research, Practices and Policy Implications ([], 2016), 161-169
    DOI: 10.1057/9781137469502_10

    © Bidit Dey, Karim Sorour and Raffaele Filieri 2016. Despite unprecedented increase in overall opulence, the contemporary world denies elementary freedoms to vast numbers - perhaps even the majority - of people. The important issue here is technological progress. Technology's influential relationship with society arguably reaches back to the beginning of human history. With regard to the history of technology, a number of authors believe that the development of human organisation from the Eolithic Age to the Information Age is directly related to the development of technology. As human dependency on technology has evolved, so have attitudes towards technology. In modern times, technology has tacitly been connected to the notion of progress. Arguably, in a global perspective adoption of a particular technology (it could be any technology) is a matter of affluence. Forerunner countries like the United States and western European countries are also leading nations with regard to economic performance. The more developed a country is in economic terms, the more the number of people who can afford and who need to rely on available technology in their daily business. In the last decade, we have seen that the wealthier economies have experienced a shift from industrial goods production to a service economy relying on the creation and processing of information and on knowledge workers who are skilled in the more advanced technology.

  • Basu S, ‘Direct Taxation and E-Commerce: Possibility and Desirability’, in Digital Economy Innovations and Impacts on Society, ed. by Druic E (Information Science Reference, 2012), 26-48

    Digital Economy Innovations and Impacts on Society provides theoretical and practical approaches about digital economy, increasing peoples awareness on what the digital economy is and exactly what competitive advantages exist to provide ...

  • Basu S, ‘Emerging Legal Challenges in Offshore Outsourcing of IT-Enables Services’, in IT Outsourcing: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, ed. by Amant KS, 1 (Business Science Reference, 2009), 4, 1073-1097

  • Basu S, Jones R, ‘Regulating Cyberstalking’, in Crimes of the Internet, ed. by Schmalleger F and Pittaro M, 1 (USA: Prentice Hall, 2008), 1, 141-165

  • Basu S, ‘Collection of Consumption Taxation in an E-Commerce Environment’, in E-Taxation: State & Perspectives: Scientific Basis, Implementation Strategies, Good Practice Examples, ed. by Makolm J and Orthofer G, Informatics, 1 (Trauner: [] 2007), 21, 250-264

  • Basu S, Pai A, ‘Emerging Legal Challenges in Offshore Outsourcing of IT-Enables Services’, in Outsourcing and Offshoring in The 21st Century: A Socio-Economic Perspective, ed. by Kehal H and Singh V (USA: Idea Group Publishing, 2006), 403-431

  • Basu S, ‘E-government and Developing Countries: Role of Technology and Law’, in Gobierno, derecho y tecnología: las actividades de los poderes públicos, ed. by Galindo F (Spain: [] 2006), 227-267

  • Basu S, ‘European VAT on Digital Sales’, in Techno-Legal Aspect of Information Society and New Economy: An Overview, Information Society, ed. by Mendez-Vilas and others, 1 (Formatex, 2003), 359-375

Conference papers

  • Basu S, Omotubora K, ‘Beyond the present: Privacy and Personalised Medicine’, in ([], 2018) 33rd Annual BILETA Conference, University of Aberdeen, University of Aberdeen, 09/04/2018 - 11/04/2018
    DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.23113.24163

    It is not difficult to imagine a world where diseases can be prevented before it struck and cured decisively by harnessing the vast datasets of biomedical information. It may sound futuristic however the world of “data-rich medicine” or “personalised medicine” has made significant progress in last few years. Personalised medicine employs a more precise knowledge of the genomic, clinical and epidemiological characteristics of the patient's disease to inform treatment decision-making. Indeed, it seems inevitable that optimised and individualised health products will form one element of personal ‘whole-life management’ of health according to which genomic data acquired at the beginning of life will be supplemented throughout that life by findings from continuous supplies of additional data on the person as well as from aggregated data gleaned from the whole population. Obviously, both volume and variety stand to increase tremendously in the coming years. It has long been an ideal in different forms and paradigms of medicine – to focus not only on the disease but also on the person. This approach is dependent on widespread data sharing, underpinned by multi-layered sets of data (and powered by big data analytics). It will radically accelerate “personalised medicine”, making discovery and treatment more efficient. However, what if insurance companies, government agencies, or even hackers gain access to the data? Further as more types of data from more varied sources become integrated, the possibilities for re-identification, that is, being able to link ‘pieces’ of information that could be highly sensitive back to the individual, becomes ever more conceivable. We argue that the future of personalised medicine will depend on how we address the relevant legal questions arising from the challenges and limitations concerning the use of big data. We must be mindful of the rights of patients to access their data and control its use and distribution, particularly respecting and enforcing these rights — including the right to privacy. This article is concerned with the data privacy challenges involved with personalised medicine. Can the privacy concerns ever be fully resolved? We make two preliminary points. First, in this article, we argue that regulation should be premised on the basis that one breach of privacy is one too many. Second, regulation should not stifle scientific progress; personalised medicine is our “carrier of hope”. Hence the article seeks to find solutions to ensure the appropriate balance between emerging scientific discoveries with commercial gains and the rights of individuals within a system designed for the express purpose of exchanging critical personal information.

  • Omotubora K, Basu S, ‘Next Generation Privacy for Smart Technologies’, in ([], 2018) 33rd Annual BILETA Conference, University of Aberdeen, 09/04/2018 - 11/04/2018
    DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.19330.17606

    The most exciting, disrupting and portend aspect of the “smart” world is a future proliferate with personal data. Artificial intelligence (AI) applications powered by machine learning algorithms can independently create data that is potentially personal, and what is even more fascinating the internet of things (IoT) can convert everyday devices into personal data because of their ability to reveal contiguous information about our daily activities. The fact is, we are going to be surrounded by personal data, and it does not end there. Big data analytics – the automated processing of data - combines the powers of AI with information drawn from IoT and other sources to produce an unprecedented volume of data some of which are personal. Not only does the proliferation of personal data aggravate the already tense debate about the meaning and scope of personal data, but it also creates concerns about how new (personal) data fits into the niche of existing data protection principles. Although EU data protection law promotes a broad interpretation of personal data, and GDPR preserves this approach, we argue in this article that the increasing power of technology challenges long-entrenched definition of personal data under the law. We argue in particular that the main problem with EU law is its overly-broad interpretation of personal data. This argument is closely modelled on the notion of privacy in continental Europe which consistently conflates the jurisprudence of privacy and data protection. We, therefore, propose a reductionist approach using the ‘risk of contextual harm’ as the threshold for the determination of whether data would be subject to protection under a data protection regime or protected by broader privacy laws. This approach is fundamental to addressing both the nebulousness that technology increasingly fosters on the concept of personal data and the preservation of the EU law as the gold standard for data protection.

  • Basu S, ‘The balancing act between Innovation and Regulation: Theory and Practice’, in ([], 2017) NFAIS 59th Annual Conference, Hilton Alexandria (VA) Old Town, 26/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
    DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.15883.59683

    The relationships between innovation and the law are dynamic and arguably changing faster now than ever before. In this presentation, I will explore the interactions between technology and the law. As the landscape among stakeholders continues to evolve, sharing data by way of interoperable systems seem to be cultivating at rapid speed. However, there are critical issues such as privacy and responsible data sharing that needs to be unearthed as part of the landscape, the past few years have revealed too many data exposes and information system vulnerabilities. Ironically the laws that are in place to ensure privacy, security and trust have had a complicated evolutionary path. In the context of healthcare data, I will discuss the primarily the legal issues but also ethical implications of building and sharing data repositories, issues related to responsible data exchange and appropriate data usage. It is essential that any regulatory framework while ensures individual’s right to privacy and but also does not impede emerging scientific discoveries with commercial gains where systems will exchange information

  • Basu S, ‘Healthcare Data: Is Consent the Answer?’, in ([], 2016) British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association, Hertfordshire University, 17/04/2016 - 19/04/2016

    The purpose of this article is to explore issues relating to consent for medical record sharing in healthcare (‘consent’). This article considers the existing models of consent within healthcare and provides a critical analysis of the current policy debate surrounding consent. A lack of understanding of consent forms a major barrier, both by patients and clinicians. From a legal perspective, consent is defined in terms of an agreement or process by which the rights of individuals to agree or to refuse to share their medical record are upheld. In practical terms, consent refers to the process by which a health care provider informs a consumer of their options for sharing of medical records, and associated risks and benefits, and supports them to make a decision about their care. In reality the lack of understanding prevents full and open discussions about consent choices which undermines the Data Protection Act concept of “explicit consent”. This issue will become paramount on introduction of the imminent Data Protection Directive which has an emphasis on explicit informed consent. This article does not deal in detail with the perhaps less controversial area of consent for medical record sharing for direct care (for example treatment by a GP or a surgeon). It focuses instead on sharing of medical record information for indirect care purposes such as research, paying for treating, auditing care services and planning for care. However, there are strong parallels to be drawn on a sociological level. Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board marks a significant shift in the test to be applied when considering whether a patient has given consent to medical treatment. We are also believe that this concept should be extended to cover consent for indirect care. It has put clinicians’ practice of consenting patients back into the litigation spotlight. Lord Kerr remarked that: ‘[since Sidaway] …patients are now widely regarded as persons holding rights, rather than as the passive recipients of the care of the medical profession. They are also widely treated as consumers exercising choices… The idea that patients were medically uninformed and incapable of understanding medical matters was always a questionable generalisation.’ The more informed patients are, the more well equipped they become in choosing whether to consent to medical record sharing for both direct and indirect care. We argue that consent is a key concept in the provision of health care which has ethical, legal and practical dimensions.

  • Basu S, ‘Privacy “And”? Surveillance’, in ([], 2015) Impacts of Perceived Surveillance on Contemporary British Activism' organised by openDemocracy, 28/11/2015 - 28/11/2015

    Information technology is having a profound effect on society. Big data is reshaping the way we live, work and think. It is helping us to identify social trends, tackle crime and prevent disease. But this Technology has also enhanced the capacity of our governments & companies to know more about us, undertake surveillance, interception and collection of data ( a lot of it).For past two years, UK surveillance laws and policies have come under intense scrutiny and for obvious reasons. Our surveillance laws are increasingly becoming expansive and intrusive.Our Govt. has completely overlooked the need for a balance between National security and privacy. However, Intrusions into our private life must be necessary and proportionate.But is it the case in the UK at the moment? 1st principle of proportionality is rarely followed;2nd recent reviews suggest that law has not matched the pace of technological change;3rd the Government repeatedly resisted calls for an open and transparent assessment and critique of UK surveillance powers;4th In response to legal challenges, our government has extended the powers of the state.In this presentation, I look at the current legislative framework.

  • Basu S, Jones R, ‘Samaritans Radar”: A Victim of (a misguided) Privacy Debate?’, in ([], 2015) British and Irish Law, Education & and Technology Association Conference, 09/04/2015 - 12/04/2015

    On average over 6,000 people die from suicides in the UK every year. According to World Health Organisation suicide kills more people than conflicts and natural disasters put together. In the past few years although there has been an increase in research and knowledge about suicide and however the stigma surrounding suicide still persist and more than often vulnerable individuals do not seek help. Samaritans is a UK based charity whose vision is that fewer people die by suicide. It aims to achieve this by providing emotional support for those suffering distress and despair. It was founded by Chad Varah in 1953 what he called a '999 for the suicidal'. As at 2012 Samaritans has approximately 21,000 volunteers spread across more than 200 branches. Key tenants of Samaritans interaction with callers are its emphasis on confidentiality and the right of the individual to self-determination. Since its inception Samaritans has always striven to embrace technology, in part driven by the need to reach younger people. In 2002 Samaritans launched an email service and in 2006 piloted an SMS service which rolled out in 2008. More recently in 2011 Samaritans began working with Facebook, producing a guide “Help a Friend in Need”. Although estimations show that of the 5 million contacts every year approximately 80% were dialogue contacts made by phone, 8% were by email, 10% were by SMS, 1% were face to face contacts made in branches, and 0.7% were face to face contacts made outside branches at festivals and other events however there is increasing evidence that social media can influence suicide-related behaviour and can serve as an early warning of suicidal behaviour. Hence building on its history of innovation on 29th October 2014 Samaritans introduced ‘Samaritans Radar’, a Twitter app linked to a subscribers account. The app was designed to monitor the subscribers’ Twitter feed alerting them to any concerning tweets from those they follow. Joe Ferns, executive director of policy, research and development at Samaritans, said at the launch that the new app will “encourage people to look out for one another and help people in distress because friends could step in first.” The app immediately received negative reviews. Critics suggested that little thought had been given to the consequences of an app monitoring the personal data of nearly 2 million people. In addition a petition was launched calling for its withdrawal based on the potential for the app to be used in cyber bullying. Samaritans responded on 30th October emphasising the white-list function of the app which allowed users to opt out of the monitoring. On the 31st October Samaritans issued further justifications, explaining that the app had been tested for over a year and that 'academic' input had assisted in its development. On 4th November the charity further responded claiming that it had taken further legal advice and that it believed that it was neither the data controller nor data processor of the information passing through the app as the does not process private tweets. Further even if Samaritans were deemed to be a data controller it argued given then the 'vital interests' that are at stake, the exemptions under data protection legislation were likely to apply. However the pressure on the charity continued and on 7th November 2014 it announced that it would suspend the app and on 14th November an apology was issued. Despite receiving a positive response from many people, I think it is fair to say that the critical reaction of some Twitter users demonstrated that Samaritans Radar affected them in a way we were not expecting. As you know from our previous statement, we have apologised to them and will reiterate that apology today. In this paper we will consider not only the legal issues around both data protection, privacy and the opportunity to harass and bully, but also the wider concerns of whether there was a failure to understand the nature of social media and how, if at all, Samaritans can continue to embrace such media.

  • Basu S, ‘Privacy in Public: “Google Glass” and “Creepshots’ BILETA: 29th Annual Conference, UEA. Norwich., 14/04/2014 - 16/04/2014

    This article looks at two interrelated issues that we will be confronting since the invention of “Google Glass”. First, the development of a particular technology that is inevitable and sometimes autonomous and, second, potential victims of that innovation. I argue that the expansion of a technology like “Google Glass”, in particular the use of this technology for taking “creepshots”, blurs the line between what is considered public and private. “Creepshots” are covertly taken sexually indicative photographs, mostly of women, which are posted online without consent. In fact, it is the lack of consent that is the crucial component for a photograph to be classified as a “creep shot”. Vint Cerf argues that “Google Glass” provides ‘an opportunity to experiment with what happens when you allow a computer to become part of your sensory environment. It sees and hears what you see and hear and it can apply its power and the power of the Internet to make use of information in context.’ In any case a simple act of taking photographs of an individual in a public street (which can be done with a wink while using “Google Glass”) will not by itself engage Article 8(1) of ECHR unless there are aggravating factors. It is a trite law to state that the conception of “privacy in public” is amorphous and it is based on a traditional understanding of “reasonable expectation” of privacy. However, the nature of the exposure due to “Google Glass” not only invades an individual’s expectation of privacy, but it also calls into question the traditional definition of privacy and interpretation of that definition. Nevertheless, question also arises as to whether the law protects the “sexualisation” of a female body or part of a body taken out of context. This article further analyses the various challenges for protecting “privacy in public” because of innovations like “Google Glass” and will map out future theoretical directions.

  • Pearson K, Basu S, Duffy J, ‘What Prospective Clients Don’t Know about Elder Law’ Elder Law Section of the state-wide Pennsylvania Bar Association, Philadelphia, PA., 20/11/2012

  • Pearson K, Duffy J, Basu S, ‘Crossing Borders and Barriers: How Older Adults Access Legal Advice and Information for Effective Justice’ Mid-Atlantic Law and Society Association, Drexel University, Earle Mack School of Law, Philadelphia, PA, 16/10/2012

  • Basu S, ‘I Can Stalk You”: Stalking the Stranger in Web 2.0’ Human Rights in the Digital Era, University of Leeds. Sep. 2011., 21/09/2011

    ‘When you're growing up your parents tell you not to talk to strangers, but the whole point of the Internet is to talk to strangers.’ The new social technologies have altered the underlying architecture of social interaction and information distribution. The explosion of Web 2.0 Social software platforms such as “Facebook”, “Bebo”, “MySpace” and “geolocative” social networking tools like “Foursquare” has resulted in commoditization of social relations. On the one hand people are encouraged to post their personal profiles, interests, photos, videos and online diaries with their thoughts and desires that they would otherwise keep secret, on the other hand by providing insight into their life, sometimes to absolute strangers, the possibility of becoming a victim of cyberstalking has also increased. In a way the social networking websites have the ability to promote deviant behaviour that might have remained simply the distorted musings of an imaginative mind! The question is how do we regulate such behaviour? (The title of this presentation is based on the website: “icanstalku”. The website raises awareness about inadvertent information sharing.)

  • Basu S, ‘E-commerce Taxation doesn’t need to be Taxing?’ BILETA 2011: 26th Annual Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University. Apr. 2011, 12/04/2011

    International direct taxation is also both excruciatingly complex and fundamentally arbitrary. It is thus in double trouble- a potential victim of irrationality and technological advancement. Although the path of international direct taxation law is directed by three main drivers: tax sovereignty concerns, practical administrative concerns, and guiding international tax principles , but there are the five strategic tax rules that apply to international transactions which are similar in most of the countries. In this article I will analyse the challenges posed by the e-commerce to traditional source- and residence-based taxation systems (both legal and administrative).

  • Basu S, Duffy J, ‘From isolation to inclusion: An exploratory study in providing online legal advice for older people’ 25th Annual BILETA Conference, Vienna, Austria, 28/03/2010 - 30/03/2010

    We report the findings of an empirical project on access to legal advice for older people in Northern Ireland, the findings from which have wider applicability. In this research, we found that there are a range of issues preventing older people from accessing proper legal advice.

  • Basu S, ‘Where Evil Dare!’ SLS Conference, Southampton, 13/09/2010 - 16/09/2010

    This article will critically argue that the regulation of behaviour in cyberspace is not simply the imposition through a top down system from regulator to regulated, a number of actors and elements come into play. In doing so, it will analyse the boundaries between public and private law, between national and international law and between state law and self regulation, and review whether the traditional positivist methodology of law, within these boundaries offers an adequate intellectual framework in which to consider the nature and form of regulation in cyberspace. Cyberspace is not a static regulatory universe into which an intervention can be made. Any response must acknowledge cyberspace’s dynamic, complex and peculiar nature, particularly its veil of anonymity and consequential challenges posed by Web v.2 and Web v.3. Hence, through the use of the example of cyber-stalking this article will consider the differences between offline and cyber-stalking, and review how these differences affect the nature of the regulation of such activities. These characteristics and differences should inform the debate about the nature and form of regulation of stalking in cyberspace and mean that it is not simply a question of transferring behaviours across from the physical world, communities in cyberspace are different and so is their behaviour. The explosion of social networking sites that encourage the posting of personal profiles, interests, blogs, photos, videos and online diaries and to the increased use of intelligent systems that enable much more sophisticated data-mining and machine learning means that within such environments which actively encourage users to share personal information and with tools that enable the capture and analysis of such data the opportunity and ability to cyber-stalk is greatly increased. Finally, the article will consider if any of the methodologies offered by authors such as Bert-Jaap Koops et al, Biegel and Murray could be adopted to meet the particular challenges of cyberstalking.

  • Basu S, ‘Digital Ethics in Bridging Digital Divide’ 24th Annual BILETA Conference: "To Infinity and Beyond: Law and Technology in Harmony?", . Department of Law, University of Winchester. Apr. 2009, 15/04/2009

    The digital divide disempowers, discriminates, and generates dependency. The question is how to deal with the problem of the digital divide? The politically intriguing idea of implementing a generic and adoptable model for ‘bridging digital divide’ clashes with the understanding that each country and region has its own peculiarities, constitution, and legal and political framework. The idea is simply unrealistic. It is not a matter of imposing legislative measures, strict regulations or empowering some controlling organization. One of the objectives at the World Summit on the Information Society was to build a global consensus around a core ethical values and principles for information society. Genetics has bio-ethics; doesn't wisdom also demand that we develop digital-ethics? ICT has already posed fundamental ethical problems, whose complexity and global dimensions are rapidly evolving. Technologies are not only tools, but also vehicles of affordances, values and interpretations of the surrounding reality, like hermeneutic devices. The objective is to formulate universally recognised principles and common ethical standards for bridging digital divide. In this presentation I have far more questions than I have answers. Because, these are the questions, we normally avoid when we discuss about DD. I will not be able to give a list of potential solutions, because I don’t have one. But I will give the reasons why I have the questions. Our information society is creating parallel systems: one for those with income, education and literacy connections, giving plentiful information at low cost and high speed: the other are those without connections, blocked by high barriers of time, cost and uncertainty and dependent upon outdated information. Hence it can be expressed the DD is nothing but a reflection of social divide. The question is what is the best strategy to construct an information society that is ethically sound? Most people have the views that ICT and underlying ideologies are neutral. This Technology has become so much naturalized that it can no longer be viewed as anything other than being useful, even when it has the potential to change profoundly the critical developmental priorities of a country. Investment in ICT will not produce growth in developing countries unless it is supported by complementary policies. ICT for development holds very important promises, yet this is only a belief, and although some do argue that it is quite a credible belief, but still it remains a belief, as we have seen repeatedly from ICT4 Development impact reports. The divide exists because there is an error both in focus and approach as policy makers in this field started from an erroneous approach and continued working with the logical framework of a previous social paradigm, where society never participated in the decision making process. I argue that since the digital divide is a problem affecting individuals rather than pre-established whole societies, solutions can be more effective if they are grassroots-oriented and bottom up? What we need is a more balanced approach between promotions of social goals through devices such as universal service obligations and recognizing country specific needs (greater voice for developing countries in international regulatory agencies). It is more about proposing policies of promoting national e-strategies in developing countries, prioritizing ICT in aid funding, improving connectivity, and building human capacity. In an earlier paper I suggested technological “leapfrogging” will enable the poor to catch up. As latecomers, developing countries can embrace existing technologies developed elsewhere and skip intermediate stages allowing them to save on considerable costs of development. However, now I feel that there is more to this argument: There is a fundamental duality: technology “for development” and technology “in developing” countries. Two streams represent diverse sets of objectives, which are currently being conflated and even used interchangeably. Developing countries needs to promote their own technology. As premature standardization can become impediments to technological innovations in these countries and can be counterproductive. ICT promises to change the world around us, what does that mean? Information society as we understand is dominated by an arguably narrow range of ideological viewpoints. It can cause new forms of colonialism that must be prevented, opposed and ultimately eradicated. But unfortunately what we are witnessing is contrasting notions of cyber colonialism, a colonizing of cultures by a diverse array of western ICT ideologies. We know there is a ‘divide’ because we were told so. The concept of Discourse Analysis of Colonialism first developed in Edward Said’s 1978 work Orientalism. Said argued that the “orient” is constructed by Western discourses as “other”, and represented as primitive, dependent upon Western expertise and in need of being controlled. This is quite analogous to the way developed countries are now dictating and dominating the ‘information society’ with its expertise of ICT in relation to the developing world. It is difficult to deny the role of these cybersuperpowers and control in the creation of a technological “other”. The ‘other’ lacks what is assumed to be the more efficient collection, exchange, and distribution of information to which those with the necessary hardware, software, and technical skills have access. These disparities are far from coincidence and are largely attributed to the unfair international economic system, which, it can be argued, benefits the developed countries at the expense of the less developed countries. We are thinking about bridging the divide but at whose terms? The question is the relationship exploitive where one party likely to be advantaged more than the other as the relationship unfolds? Or is it reciprocal in which each party benefits to a similar degree? How do we determine this? It can be fairly easily demonstrated: If the developing countries continue to depend on the developed countries for expertise and control, can we say that we have managed to bridge the divide? Before the Internet, the global agenda and public debates within territorially defined political spaces were mainly set by Western transnational media agencies. They were tools used by the dominant centres of power to manufacture consent and shape the contours of public ideology for their own interests. In terms of ICT it is again a relationship which many in the developing world realize that they have little options but to utilise the technology from within the operating ethos and intellectual structures fostered mainly by American techno-visionaries. So an uneven relationship exists. Have we superimposed ICT ideologies of west upon the ‘Rest’? As I said before Information society is about individuals (an information only becomes useful and hence valuable if and only if the individual understands that information).So the usefulness and the value is ultimately dependent on what gets disseminated. Paradoxically, across political and cultural contexts abundance of information provided by the Internet has not necessarily created an abundance of usable knowledge. It is clear that the digital divide is a multi-faceted social problem, requiring a multi-faceted intervention. Nearly all related studies agree that the fundamental solution lies beyond a mere consideration of information availability and infrastructure; they call for governments to interfere with the deep-rooted factors which have directly or indirectly caused this situation. The technological power available is enormous. It is also growing relentlessly. Our Moral responsibilities towards the world and future generations are therefore equally enormous. Unfortunately, technological power and moral responsibilities are not necessarily followed by ethical intelligence and wisdom. We are still like children, light-heartedly and dangerously toying with a marvellous universe.


  • Duffy J, Basu S, Davidson G, Pearson KC, Review of legislation and policy guidance relating to adult social care in Northern Ireland, (Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland (COPNI), 2015), 1-98
    DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.11269.86247, Repository URL:

    Author URL []

    Multi-disciplinary research project is commissioned by the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland to provide a piece of research to review the current position in terms of policy guidance and law and practice in adult social care in Northern Ireland and to make suggestions, based in part on comparing with best practice in other jurisdictions, to the Commissioner, as to the best way to reform the legislation. The legislative review found: 1. Current legislation and policy guidance surrounding Adult Social Care is outdated, confusing and fragmented in Northern Ireland. Definitions and terminology used in the legislation need updated to fully reflect and meet the needs of modern society. 2. The effect of the out of date legislation and policy position is to disadvantage older people in both understanding what social care services are available to them and in terms of how to access these services. 3.Early intervention to assess need is key together with the provision of necessary support to enable older people to be fully involved in decisions about their future care needs. A preventative type of “Support Visit”, similar to that currently offered in Scandinavia, to all over 75 year olds, would enable information and support to be shared and assessments conducted in a more controlled, proactive and consistent way.

  • Pearson K, Duffy J, Basu S, International Justice for Older Adults - Crossing Barriers as well as Borders, (CA, USA: Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging, 2013)

  • Basu S, Duffy J, Davey H, Digital Divide, Ageing and Online Legal Advice, in Digital Divide, Ageing and Online Legal Advice, (QUB, UK: [] 2009), 1-78

    Older people have been perceived as requiring support with regard to legal and soft law advice but they have also been that part of the population which is the least internet enabled. With the development of eGov, it is clear that there are a number of developing issues which merit study in this area. By virtue of their advanced years, older people have greater need of legal advice in areas such as substitute decision-making, wills, care arrangements, and matters relating to health. The study, which this report describes, is the first of its kind to explore the legal needs of older people including marginalised groups and those living in both private accommodation and in residential homes. Furthermore, although the research was carried out in Northern Ireland, the findings have wider application to other national and international contexts. In this research, we interviewed older people, individually and within focus groups, service providers and other relevant stakeholders. We found that there are a range of issues preventing older people from accessing proper legal advice. These include a general reluctance to engage with the legal system and to enforce their rights through legal processes. The most commonly recurring theme throughout the study was that older people were often reluctant to complain about issues affecting them and consequently sought to manage their problems silently on their own. We also uncovered a predominant expression of distrust and scepticism expressed towards lawyers and the legal system, much of which was related to expense and costs. The research would also strongly indicate that the current legal system must accept that older people are often not getting the service they should, at a price that they can afford and that this situation must change. In addition, we found that the development of an on-line tool has potential based on some of the positive comments we received in the focus groups from older people confident in using the internet. The capacity for the internet to provide basic legal information in this way for older people is largely untapped and it would appear that not enough work is being done among older people to generate awareness regarding the use and possible benefits of the internet as a legal tool. There is also a continued need to support older people in key aspects of this such as accessing and acquiring the skill to use technology and addressing their attitudes towards technologies. The implication of the findings from this research indicates that the social policy goals of empowering older people will be increasingly difficult to realize without the improvement in access to legal services more generally.

Internet publications

  • Basu S, Malick R, India's dodgy mass surveillance project should concern us all, (WIRED, 2017)
    Repository URL:

    India is undertaking the world’s largest biometric ID card project – Aadhaar, also dubbed the "the world's biggest mass surveillance project". The government seems unaware, or unconcerned, that because of an inadequate legal framework for protecting citizens’ privacy this project will have catastrophic consequences. This overzealous project is obtaining demographic and biometric information and being forced upon Indian citizens, with no choice for an individual to opt-out of the system. The Indian government has claimed that setting up Aadhaar would establish a system of protection against wastage and corruption in the dispensation of social benefits.This draconian ID system is linking with every aspect of an individual’s life, from booking train tickets, registering marriages, or seeking scholarships, to mobile phone numbers, bank accounts, and schools and colleges. In many of these cases, it is mandatory.Thus, the government can exert absolute control by cross-referencing all transactions authenticated by or linked with Aadhaar. Indian society and politics has gone through a tectonic shift and is now in the grip of ‘absolutism’. Amid mounting governmental pressure, more than a billion Indians have signed up for Aadhaar. The aggregation of this data, along with various other data sets interlinked to Aadhaar, will enable the government to trace the movements, social relationships, and interactions of residents so that their private lives are laid bare. Seemingly innocuous, data when collated is capable of profiling residents’ lives. Once such data is in the government’s hands, wide latitude in access and use facilitates government abuse. Indeed, coercive application of Aadhaar creates a potential for mass surveillance, which in turn threatens the privacy of Indian citizens. We argue that this systemic mass invasion of privacy will diminish citizens’ autonomy of decision making: the choice of what to make public or keep private will no longer be theirs. In a high-octane, emotionally charged democracy like India, the fear of backlash will stop individuals from expressing disagreement with the government; they will increasingly self-censor their speech and interactions. Subjecting citizens to greater scrutiny and control will tilt the already imbalanced dynamics between the administration and the citizens, leading to erosion of democracy.

  • Basu S, Emerging technologies and the law—Organs-on-Chips, (LexisPSL, 2016)

    Author URL []

    Commercial analysis: Organs-on-chips has been named as one of the top ten emerging technologies of 2016 by the World Economic Forum, but the use of the technology raises questions surrounding privacy, data protection, ownership and criminal exploitation. Dr Subhajit Basu, associate professor of information technology law and deputy director of the Law and Emerging Technologies Research The group at the University of Leeds considers the issues.

  • Basu S, More than 600m Indians don’t have cards. So how can the country ban cash?, (Wired, 2016)
    Repository URL:

    ‘More than 600 million Indians don’t have cards. So how can the country ban cash?’ highlights the current situation in which India finds itself; a government which is pushing for a cashless society, and a population of which only 4.4% have ‘access to a credit or debit card and ‘less than 300 million use the web’. Subhajit argues that the poor have not been considered in the bid for a cashless economy, with ‘lack of education’ being one of the main barriers to the natural diffusion of a digital economy with zero cash. He argues that the digital divide along with the lack of access to a bank account or a debit or credit card is ‘disempowering, discriminating, and fosters dependency’. He asserts that ‘ a government’s action should not put the poor in a disadvantaged position that they do not have the tools or means to circumvent.’ He concludes the article by commenting that ‘good intentions are nothing, if they are not backed by common sense.’

  • Basu S, Malik R, BIG Data: A Challenge to Data Protection?, (India Law Journal, 2016)

    Author URL []

    Big data’ in India is set to get ‘bigger’ with the recent launch of Reliance Jio. Through Jio, Reliance is targeting mid-to-low end customers and is striving to digitize millions in rural India by providing them data connectivity at low prices. As customers line in queues to join Jio, the rise in digital adoption is expected to result in greater content consumption and more digital transactions. This upsurge in data usage would yield an exponential increase in the quantity of big data generated. Jio intends to maximize growth and competitiveness by exploiting big data.

  • Basu S, Should the NHS share patient data with Google's DeepMind?, (Wired, 2016)
    Repository URL:

    In giving Google access to the healthcare data of nearly 1.6 million patients, the NHS has used a loophole around "implied consent". It did not require patient consent for direct care, and the great unknown is how much Google is going to extend the definition of implied consent to fit its purpose.

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