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Disputation: Olga Mironenko Enerstvedt

Master of Laws Olga Mironenko Enerstvedt will be defending the thesis Aviation security and protection of individuals: Technologies and legal principles for the degree of Ph.D.

The disputation will be held in English

Olga Mironenko Enerstvedt

Photo: Private

Trial lecture - time and Place

Jun 24 2016 10:15 - 11:00, Kjerka, 2nd floor. Domus Media

Adjudication committee

Chair of defence

Vice Dean Erling Hjelmeng



New aviation security measures appear every day and are usually introduced under the rubric of combating terrorism. These technologies include body scanners, camera surveillance, biometrics, profiling, behaviour analysis, and transfer of air passenger personal data from airlines to state authorities, among others.

Air-travel security measures cannot be considered mere technical measures related to aviation security. These measures also have a serious impact on issues of fundamental human rights. The research focus of this dissertation is on the right to privacy and data protection in the aviation security context. The main objective of the work is to discuss what can be considered proportionate security, taking into account concerns of privacy and related human rights including the right to health, freedom of movement, equal treatment and non-discrimination, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and rights of the child.

Aviation security plus privacy

The main thesis of the study is that the ideal model to illustrate the relationship between aviation security and privacy is aviation security plus privacy rather than aviation security versus privacy. Both values are important for society; what is needed is to find a way to ensure both values, without losing one or the other.

The research is based on international and EU law and uses national regimes of the USA, UK, Norway and Russia as illustrations. The research argues that the selected aviation security technologies constitute breaches to a number of human rights. Nevertheless, they are arguably more or less proportionate if violations are compared with the level of threats and security benefits. However, this does not mean that situation should be status quo. The question of whether threats and benefits of security measures are proportionate to privacy and other human rights risks is subject to continuous evaluation.

Regulation and technologies

The issues of interaction between legal regulation and the technologies are central in the aviation security debate. In theory, if properly developed and applied, they are able to protect both security and other rights of the individual. However, this is easier said than done. The study reveals that current processes and tendencies, such as technological developments, globalization, harmonization of regulation, modernization of existing data privacy regulation, developing technology-specific regulation and mechanisms of self-regulation, growing use of Privacy by Design, improving passenger experience, etc. can contribute both to solving the existing issues and to creating additional problematic issues for the aviation security-privacy dilemma.

The technological developments can be both positive and negative for both aviation security and individual rights. Although automatic techniques can be positive for aviation security since they are effective and reduce time and costs, they may be subject to various failures, including false negatives or false positives. On the one hand, through technology, privacy rules can be programmed to be automated, limiting collection and processing of personal data, etc. On the other hand, digitalisation and automation may lead to leaks of huge amounts of personal data, function creep, discrimination, and so on.


Modern trends in aviation security, such as intelligence-led, pro-active and risk-based approach, global information sharing, and combination of aviation security measures imply that the intrusive features will apparently be further developed and used. Further new and more advanced methods may appear with additional human rights concerns. This means that the emerging mass of security-related data and the corresponding impact on individual privacy and other human rights are only in the beginning stage of development.

Paramount in importance – after successfully implementing these technologies in aviation – is that they may then be spread to other areas of transport, to other crowded places, to other new areas of the public realm. This means that if proper limits on surveillance are not set in the earlier stages, privacy and other human rights may ultimately be affected to an unforeseeable extent. This study contributes to the security-privacy debate not only in respect of civil aviation, but security in a broader sense.


Published June 9, 2016 1:06 PM - Last modified Nov. 30, 2016 12:21 PM