Delaram Rezaeikhonakdar

Delaram RezaeikhonakdarHome Country: Iran

Life Before Dickinson Law:
I am currently a S.J.D. candidate (Class of 2025) at Penn State Dickinson Law. I obtained my LL.M. degree from Penn State Dickinson Law (June 2022), my Master of Laws (LL.M.) in “International and European Law” from KU Leuven (September 2021) and my B.A. in law from University of Tehran (February 2020).

My interest in the right to privacy finds its roots back to my participation in the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition held by the University of Oxford, in addition to the Public International Law summer school I attended at University of Geneva. Watching the uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI) during the rupture of COVID-19 added a new dimension to my interest in privacy law. I realized that the emergence of the pandemic has led to increasing concerns about the risk of biases in Direct-to-Consumers health apps in addition to data privacy questions around the collection, use, and sharing of personal data. I faced these questions and dilemmas while I was preparing to start my LL.M. studies in “International and European Law” at KU Leuven. By the end of my studies at KU Leuven, I came to realize that even though the AI regulation in the EU is intended to complement the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR), there is still very little clarity on the cross-border transfer of personal data to third countries such as the U.S. To this end, in the meantime of my LL.M. studies at Penn State Dickinson Law School, I took initiative to work as a research assistant to Professor S. Gerke on the privacy governance in the U.S.

Research Focus:
In light of the recent holding of the Court of Justice of European Union in Schrems II and the invalidation of the Privacy Shield Framework, I am planning to focus during my S.J.D. program on privacy concerns raised in the context of international transfer of health data from the EU to the U.S. I will work on the scope of the EU GDPR and the available legal mechanisms under this Regulation for international transfer of personal data. My attempt is to make suggestions on how the legal obstacles in cross-border transfer of health data from the EU to the U.S. can be addressed in the new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework. 

Furthermore, the rapid development of Consumer Genomic App platforms raises privacy challenges, considering that these platforms collect large amounts of sensitive data from consumers. Exploring the privacy aspects of these platforms, I am planning to do a comparative study of business models that have emerged as a result of the attempts to comply with the U.S. law and the EU law. In particular, I will focus on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (CPRA), the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), the Colorado Privacy Act (CPA), and the EU GDPR to explain why it is critical to have a federal data protection legislation in the U.S.

Advice for Prospective Law Students:
After all the gained experiences which have assisted me to be well-informed about the U.S. and EU privacy regimes, I have never been more determined to continue my studies in the S.J.D. program at Penn State Dickinson Law.