Sunday, 8 May 2016

OffData: a prosumer law agency to govern big data in the public interest

I will discuss the regulation of big data. Big data has the ability to transform the regulation of the economy and the governance of society. Collection as well as processing of such data can include sensitive personal data, with as little as two matching items enabling de-anonymisation. Bulk automated data collection also infringes European laws on data protection. If regulation of big data collection and processing lags severely behind business processes, so also competition law faces existential crises dealing with big data curators. Search engines and social media platforms, amongst others, have such a huge trawl of data that they are able to “pick winners” among sectoral competitors in for instance retail and transportation, in what is becoming known as "surveillance capitalism". Governments also increasingly rely on these big data brokers to support services, compromising regulatory independence. What is needed is a more holistic regulatory framework to help govern big data in the public interest and permit users to take back individual and collective control of their data: a prosumer law agency ‘OffData’.
{See earliest Giddens, A. (1995). Surveillance and the capitalist state. In A contemporary critique of historical materialism, 2nd Edn. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan}

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