University of Malta

Prof Joseph A. Cannataci
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Prof. Joseph A. Cannataci LL.D.  Spes. Rettsinformatikk (Oslo) CITP FBCS

Office: Humanities A (Laws, Theology, Criminology) - Room 210



Joe Cannataci studied law at the University of Malta and the University of Oslo. He later qualified in the UK as a Chartered Information Technology Professional and also holds Chartered Fellowship of the British Computer Society. He received a Doctor of Laws degree (LLD) from the University of Malta in 1986 with a thesis on privacy and data protection law published by the Norwegian University Press in 1987. Joe was T54 Project Director at the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law during 1986-1987 before he joined the Department of Public Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Malta, where in 1988 he established the Law & IT Research Unit (LITRU). In 2006 he was appointed (full) Professor of Law at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in the United Kingdom. Between 2006 and 2007 he was Head of Lancashire Law School and from 2007-to 2011 he was Director of the Centre for Law, Information & Converging Technologies at UCLAN. In 2011 he was appointed Head of the Department of Information Policy & Governance at the Faculty of Media & Knowledge Sciences of the University of Malta and also Chair of European Information Policy & Technology Law within the Faculty of Law at the University of Groningen. He is addiitonally Adjunct Professor at the Security Research Centre, School of Computer and Security Science at Edith Cowan University Australia

Joe founded and today co-ordinates the LexConverge network which groups IT Law research institutes and law firms from over 30 countries including Australia, Egypt, Kenya, USA as well as all of the EU’s member states.  He is presently managing over  8 million Euros worth of externally funded projects in which he is currently co-ordinating the research work of over 100 researchers organised within 33 teams across 29 institutions in 25 countries carrying out projects across Europe, Kenya, India, Australia and the Americas. During 2011-2014 he is also expected to continue in the role of Expert Consultant engaged by the Council of Europe’s Consultative Committee (T-PD) and Directorate for Legal Affairs & Human Rights to review provisions of the European Data Protection Convention and especially Recommendation R(87)15 on police use of personal data.


He has written books and articles on Data Protection Law, Liability for Expert Systems, Legal aspects of medical informatics, copyright in computer software and co-authored various papers and textbook chapters on self-regulation and the Internet, the EU Constitution and data protection, on-line dispute resolution, Data retention and Police data.

In 1993 Joe was Rapporteur on the use of personal data for Police Purposes to the Project Group on Data Protection of the Council of Europe a role he reprised in 2010 when he was engaged by the Council of Europe as External Consultant to advise on the future of data protection in this sector. He was Chairman of several Committees of Experts of the Council of Europe:  MedialLex (1994),  the Working Party on Data Protection in Insurance (1994-1997), Working Party on Data Protection in New technologies (1995-2000), the Committee of Experts on Data Protection (1996-98) and Vice-Chairman of the Group of Specialists on the impact of New Communications Technologies on Fundamental Rights & Democratic Values (1999-2001).

While he has been in academic life without a break since 1986, he has also maintained first a full-time and then,(since 1993)  a part-time presence as an IT lawyer  involved in international practice in the B2B legal aspects of new technologies including drafting and negotiating  IT Project contracts, Hardware & Software sales & licensing contracts and various IP-related issues including source code agreements. He is currently a UDRP Panelist of the Czech Arbitration Court where, utilizing On-line dispute resolution (ODR) methodologies, he was amongst the first “on-line judges” to deliver decisions in disputes on .eu Top Level Domain names.

His experience in the business sector and academic management has not been confined to law. Between 1992 and 1996 he was consultant to and subsequently Chairman of the IT Steering Committee for Malta’s largest bank (today HSBC). During 1998-1999, he led a team from the Centre for Communication Technology of the University of Malta in a national project on “Redefining the role of public broadcasting in Malta” commissioned by the Minister of Education, Media & Culture. Between 2000 and 2002, he was the Project Director entrusted with kick-starting the 5-campus Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, which is now responsible for FE provision to some 5,000 students. Between 2001 and 2002 he was a member of the IT Steering Committee responsible for the successful implementation of inter alia ORACLE Financials within the national carrier Air Malta. During 2002-2005 he was Project Director for the multi-million Euro IKONOS project where he designed and implemented a Satellite-enabled Wide Area Network for distance learning in cultural heritage across Algeria, Jordan, Greece, Malta, Morocco, and the Netherlands.

Joe is as passionate about history, education and cultural heritage as he is about law and information sciences. A Committee Member and later Treasurer of the Malta Historical Society (1978-1985), he was appointed by the Council of the University of Malta as (founding) Chairman of the Malta  Centre for Restoration for two terms between 1999 and 2005 where he established the Institute for Conservation and Restoration Studies. His publications during this period include papers on the Philosophy of Conservation Education, Thealasermetry and the use of hybrid technologies to survey heritage sites and e-heritage.  He was a Trustee of the Foundation for Cultural Heritage Memory established by Maltacom to use technological means to preserve and facilitate access to parts of our heritage such a music, images and oral tradition. He maintains his sanity and a sense of humour by forming part of cultural heritage conservation teams together with colleagues from Czech Republic, Italy, Romania and the UK engaged in field-work research around the world.


Current Research and Supervision

Joe’s current research interests include:

  • Integrated Information policy development
  • Technology Law
  • Inter-disciplinary approaches to information ethics including
  • Data Protection Law, Security and Surveillance
  • Digital Forensics
  • Consensual issues in on-line social networking
  • Cyber-security including Cyber-crime and Cyber-terrorism
  • Internet Governance
  • Digital Divide issues
  • Holistic approaches to law, economics, cultural heritage and IT
  • Cross-cultural issues in personality law, especially privacy


He will be happy to supervise postgraduate research in these areas.



Joe has developed courses and taught at under-graduate and post-graduate level in Malta and the UK. He has been a guest lecturer in more than 20 countries around Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. His areas of teaching have included Data Protection Law, Freedom of Information Law, Intellectual Property Rights in Computer Software, Cyber-crime, Computer Contracts, Cultural Heritage Law, He has supervised research and/or acted as an examiner for LLM, LLD and PhD theses in Malta, the Netherlands and Norway as well as the UK.


External Affiliations

Joe is a member of the Executive of the British & Irish Law, Education & Technology Association (BILETA), 2008 - the Advisory Board of the Research Unit for the Study of Society, Law &  Religion, University of Adelaide, Australia the International Advisory Board of the International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, the Editorial Board of the European Journal for Law & Technology,  the Editorial Board of the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology and  the Comitato Scientifico della "Rivista di Diritto, Economia e Gestione delle Nuove Tecnologie", In 2002 he was appointed and in 2005 decorated by the Republic of France and elevated to Officier dans l’ordre des palmes académiques.


Selected Publications

J.A. Cannataci (2012) (forthcoming) 'Information & Technology Law in Romania', ... ,  295pp

J.A. Cannataci (2012) (forthcoming) 'The right that never [quite] was: Privacy Law, technology and information ethics across cultures', 485 pp.

J.A. Cannataci (forthcoming 2011) Recent developments in Privacy and Health Care: Different paths for RFID in Europe and North America? In International Journal for RF Technologies: Research and Applications (2011)

J. A. Cannataci (forthcoming 2011) " Converging technologies and surveillance trends in 2010: the impact on privacy”  Masaryk University Journal of Law & Technology (2011)

J.A. Cannataci & J. P. Mifsud Bonnici, (2010) The end of the purpose-specification principle in data protection? International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, Routledge, UK ISSN: 1364-6885 (electronic) 1360-0869 (paper) Vol. 24, No.1, March 2010  pp 1-17, DOI: 10.1080/13600861003637693

J.A. Cannataci (2010)  From E-Heritage to E-Law: some Technology-enabled layers in conservation in Acta Artis Academica2010, Proceedings of the 3rd Interdisciplinary Conference of ALMA, Akademie vytvarnych umeni v Praze Prague ISBN 978-80-87108-14-7

J.A. Cannataci (2010)  From the NSA to the IMP: Deserving and Dodging Legal Safeguards  (ISA 2010) available at

J. A. Cannataci (2010) Squaring the circle of smart surveillance and privacy,  Fourth International Conference on Digital Society,  ISBN 978-0-7695-3953-9/10 DOI 10.1109/ICDS.2010.55, 323-328

J. A. Cannataci, Privacy, Technology Law and religions across cultures (2009) Journal of Information Law & Technology, 2009 Issue 1

J.A. Cannataci, Privacy pitfalls for E-government: recent developments in the UK, (2009) chapter in Marleen Haase, Christine Leitner, Josef Makolm, Romand Traumuller (eds)  Taking the e-Government Agenda Forward: Meeting the Challenges of Digital Governance, Justice and Public Sector Information, Austrian Computer Society, April 2009, ISBN: 978-3-85403-253-3

J.A. Cannataci & J.P. Mifsud Bonnici (2009) 'The UK Data Protection Fiasco 2007-2008: Moving on from bad policy and bad law?' International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, March-July 2009, Routledge, Taylor & Francis, UK ISSN: 1364-6885 (electronic) 1360-0869 (paper) Vol 23 Nos.1-2, pp47-76 DOI: 10.1080/13600860902876378

J. A. Cannataci 'Lex Personalitatis : personalitate, drept şi tehnologie în secolul 21' (2008) ( Lex Personalitatis: personality, law and technology in the 21st Century”) published in Romanian and English in Acta, Proceedings of the International Conference on Facts and Perspectives of the European Integration Process in the Age  of Globalisation, The Simion Barnutiu Faculty of Law of the Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu, Romania.

J. A. Cannataci, Privacy, 'Technology Law and Religions Across Cultures' (2008) Proceedings of Living in truth Conference, UNESCO-CEPES, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj University Press, Romania  ISBN 978-973-610-801-3, pp.333-356

J A Cannataci, 'Lex Personalitatis and Technology-driven Law' (2008), SCRIPTed Volume 5, Issue 1, April 2008, pp 1-6.

J. A. Cannataci & Mireille M. Caruana, Across Cultural Divides, (2007) 'Introduction', Information & Communications Technology, Law, Vol 16:2, 91 – 98., Routledge, Taylor & Francis, UK. DOI: 10.1080/13600830701531938;ISSN 1360-0834 print/ISSN 1469-8404 online

Mireille M. Caruana & J.A. Cannataci,  (2007) 'European Union privacy and data protection principles: Compatibility with culture and legal frameworks in Islamic states', Information & Communications Technology Law, Vol 16:2, 99 – 124 Routledge, Taylor & Francis, UK DOI: 10.1080/13600830701531953; ISSN 1360-0834 print/ISSN 1469-8404 online

J.A. Cannataci & J.P. Mifsud Bonnici Weaving the mesh: Finding remedies in Cyberspace in  Internet Governance, International Review of Law, Computers and Technology March 2007, ISSN: 1364-6885 (electronic) 1360-0869 (paper) Vol 21 pp 59-78 DOI: 10.1080/13600860701281705

Joseph A. Cannataci, Mireille M. Caruana and Jeanne Pia Mifsud Bonnici,  (2006) ‘R (87) 15: A slow death?’ in “Monitoring and Supervision” Erasmus University Press, Rotterdam., pp. 27-49, ISBN 905677316X

J.A. Cannataci & J.P. Mifsud Bonnici , Settling jurisdiction & other issues in Cybercrime: a role for ODR?, in Proceedings of the 4th Annual Forum for Online Dispute Resolution, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Cairo, Egypt 22-24 March 2006

J. A. Cannataci & J. P. Mifsud Bonnici, (2005) Can Self-regulation Satisfy the Transnational Requisite of successful Internet Regulation, in Legal Issues in Electronic Commerce, 2nd edition, Canadian Legal Studies Series, Lynn Cambell (ed), Captus Press, Canada ISBN 1-55322-106-0

J.A. Cannataci & J.P. Mifsud Bonnici. (2005). Data Protection Comes of Age : The Data Protection Clauses in the European Constitutional Treaty, Information and Communications Technology Law,  Vol. 14, No.1 pp.5-15. ISSN 1360-0834 print/ISSN 1469-8404 online

J.A. Cannataci, R. Rivenc, C.E. Borg, N. Zammit, G.Guidi & J-A Beraldin, (2003) E-Heritage: The future for Integrated Applications in Cultural Heritage”, published on pages 81-86 in Volume XXXIV-5/C15 of the ISPRS International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences ISSN 1682-1750 as well as the CIPA International Archives for Documentation of Cultural Heritage Volume XIX-2003 ISSN 0256-1840

J.A. Cannataci and J.P. Mifsud Bonnici. (2003). Can Self-Regulation satisfy the transnational requisite of successful Internet regulation? International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, Volume 17, No.1, pp 51-61.

C. E. Borg and J.A. Cannataci, (2002) Thealasermetry: a hybrid approach to documentation of sites and artefacts (CIPA/ISPRS, September 2002) pp93-104

J.A. Cannataci, M. Caruana, & J. Schiro’ (2002) A dilemma resolved? Towards a revised philosophy of conservation education  in Proceedings of the Conference on Scientific aspects of Conservation, Jordan, Hashemite University

J.A. Cannataci and J.P. Mifsud Bonnici. (2002). Can Self-Regulation satisfy the transnational requisite of successful Internet regulation? Proceedings of 17th BILETA Conference, 2002 Publications preceding the RAE period 2001-2008

J.A. Cannataci. (1998). Debate: should the fight against the sexual exploitation of children include government control of encryption? In Europa 40+, Council of Europe, France.

J.A. Cannataci and. J.P. Mifsud Bonnici. (1995). Medical data protection in Europe: New rules vs. actual trends.  In Strategic Alliances between patient documentation and medical informatics, pp301-321. Amsterdam: AMICE Conference.

J.A. Cannataci. (1992). Language and Law: Law & Expert Systems. In Skills and Education Artificial Intelligence and Society series, Springer Verlag, London.

J.A. Cannataci. (1992). Legal Aspects of Picture Archiving and Communications Systems. International Journal of Bio-Medical Computing, 30 (3-4). pp 209-214

J.A. Cannataci. (1991). Data Protection issues in DBMS AND Experts Systems. Proceedings of the AIM Conference on Data Protection and Confidentially in Medical Informatics, EC Brussels & IOS Press Amsterdam/Washington.

J.A. Cannataci. (1989). Liability for Medical Expert Systems: An introduction to the legal implications. Medical Informatics, Jul-Sep;14(3), pp 229-241.

J.A. Cannataci. (1989). Legal Liability for Expert Systems. AI & Society, Vol.3, No.3, 169-183

J.A. Cannataci. (1988).  MALTA: The outlook for Computerization in the Administration of Justice. Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Newsletter, Nos 14/15, United Nations, Vienna.

J.A. Cannataci. (1988). CJ-PD – The Hidden Heart of Data Protection. Lov Og Data, Lawdata Foundation, Norway.

J.A. Cannataci (1984). Proprietary Rights in Computer Programs – Copyright Law and Malta. Id-Dritt - Law Journal, The Law Society, Vol.XII, Malta.

J.A. Cannataci. (1983). Computer Applications and the Maltese Legal Professions. Id-Dritt - Law Journal, The Law Society, Vol.X, Malta. Books/Monographs pre-RAE

J.A. Cannataci, S. Chircop and J.P. Mifsud Bonnici. (1999). Redefining the Role of Public Broadcasting in Malta. Malta, Government Press.
J.A. Cannataci. (1988). Liability and Responsibility for Expert Systems. Oslo, Norway: Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law ISBN 82-518-2523-7

J.A. Cannataci. (1987). Privacy and Data Protection Law: International Development and Maltese Perspectives. Oslo, Norway: Norwegian University Press. 239 pp ISBN 82-00-07850-7

Editor & Guest Editor

Guest Editor (with Jeanne Mifsud Bonnici) for a Special Issue on “Privacy & Technology in Kenya and India” of the International Review of Law, Computers & Technology,  (Routledge) Taylor & Francis, UK ISSN: 1364-6885 (electronic) 1360-0869 (paper)(forthcoming 2011)

Guest Editor (with Jeanne Mifsud Bonnici) for a Special Issue on “Internet Governance” of the International Review of Law, Computers & Technology,  (Routledge) Taylor & Francis, UK ISSN: 1364-6885 (electronic) 1360-0869 (paper) Online Publication Date: 01 March 2007 Cannataci, Joseph A. and Mifsud-Bonnici, Jeanne Pia (2007) 'Foreword: Internet Governance', International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 21:1, 1 – 3 To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/13600860701281622

Guest Editor (with Mireille Caruana) of a Special Issue on “Across Cultural Divides: Data Protection & Islam” of Information & Communications Technology Law (Routledge, Taylor & Francis) ISSN 1360-0834 print/ISSN 1469-8404 online  Online Publication Date: 01 June 2007 DOI: 10.1080/13600830701531938; ISSN 1360-0834 print/ISSN 1469-8404 online.

Last Updated: 19 July 2011

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