Protecting Individuals Against the Negative Impact of Big Data

Potential and Limitations of the Privacy and Data Protection Law Approach

Manon Oostveen

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Wolters Kluwer img Link Publisher

Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Recht


In the contemporary information society, organisations increasingly rely on the collection and analysis of large-scale data (popularly called 'big data') to make decisions. These processes, which take place largely beyond the individual's knowledge, produce a cascade of effects that go beyond privacy and data protection. Should we focus on the possibilities of tackling these often negative effects through other areas of law, or maybe even find new solutions to cope with the dark side of big data? This ground-breaking book is the first to address this crucially important question in detail.Among the issues raised in the analysis are such vital elements as the following: what is meant by 'big data';- 'privacy' according to the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union;- what the European Union legal framework on privacy and data protection consists of and how it functions in the light of big data;- what companies, governments and other organisations are permitted to do with big data under the current regulatory framework;- the central importance of personal autonomy;- circumstances that influence whether or not the right to privacy is triggered;- big data's possible impact on democracy through, inter alia, potentially limiting freedom of expression;- how governmental or corporate surveillance chills the receiver's gathering of information and ideas;- selective offering of choices or information, or manipulation of people's ideas;- procedural aspects that influence the extrapolation of normative concepts of privacy and data protection; and- how discrimination occurs in big data.This book foregrounds a critical scrutiny of commercial uses of big data - its scale, its limited capacity for independent oversight and the expected prevalence of interference with individuals' rights. The author's conclusions explore possible legal alternatives to mitigate the negative impact of big data, using legal instruments, case law and legal academic literature in her analysis.Because the amount of digital data keeps growing and the private lives of individuals are increasingly taking place online - and because of the opacity of the big data process, the fundamental values that are at stake, and the speed of technological developments compared to the pace of legal reform - this comprehensive assessment of flaws in the current framework and possible practical solutions will be warmly welcomed by practitioners, policymakers and government officials in all legal fields related to privacy and data protection.

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