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Advanced Master Law and Digital Technologies - Leiden University

eLaw master's student wins thesis award from Dutch Data Protection Authority

On on 29 January 2024, it was announced that Aylin Alexa Zainea has won the Thesis Award from the Dutch Data Protection Authority. She wrote her thesis for the Advanced Master programme on Law and Digital Technologies hosted by eLaw, Center for Law and Digital Technologies. Her thesis entitled ‘Automated Decision-Making in Online Platforms’ received first prize.

It was the first time the Dutch Data Protection Authority has organised these thesis awards. The jury was enthusiastic about the focus on discrimination and behavioural manipulation in Zainea's thesis, particularly when it comes to ‘acceptable’ manipulation. They found this a novel perspective to take. They were also impressed by the accessibility with which complex topics such as AI and algorithms are described in the thesis. As the winner of the thesis award, Zainea receives 2000.

Danny Mekić, Aylin Alexa Zainea, Joosje van Riel and Aleid Wolfsen during the award ceremony

Thesis supervisor Bart Custers is very proud: 'Alexa has written an excellent thesis, well-structured and clearly written, with several novel insights and recommendations. She had a clear idea from the very beginning about what she wanted to investigate and has worked very hard and consistently towards this final result.'

In addition to the first prize, there was also a shared second prize. One of the other prize winners, Danny Mekić, wrote his thesis at the Open University and is now an external PhD candidate at eLaw.

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