Legal aspects of processing personal data in development and use of digital language resources: the Estonian perspective.
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Language research and development of digital language resources creates several legal challenges. The authors’ main focus in this article relates to data protection issues in the context of the development of digital language resources. This article complements the research already done on copyright aspects of digital language resources. In the first section of the article the authors analyse technical and legal nature of digital language resources and language technologies. The authors rely on the previous research and define digital language resources as a database containing oral and written texts. Since the choice of the texts constitutes a creative process then this database is protected as a work. Since the creation of language resources requires considerable investment then it can also be protected as sui generis database. Digital language resources can be used for language research and creation of language technologies. The development of language technologies (e.g. spelling checkers, machine translation, speech synthesis and recognition) relies on the existing digital language resources. Language research and language technologies are crucial for the survival of a language in the internet era. The main legal issue here is that the texts used may contain personal data. In the second section of the article the authors concentrate on the processing of personal data for scientific research and other purposes. The processing of the personal data can be based on the consent of data subject or exceptions allowed by law. In the third section of the article the authors focus on specific aspects of processing personal data in context of digital language resources. The authors address the specific issues relating to oral speech and then focus on problems common to both of them. The authors conclude that language research offers tremendous opportunities to address multilingualism issues in Europa. It is also a measure to fight against the extinction of a language. An adequate regulatory framework plays a key role in enhancement of language research.
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