EU’s New Data Laws Enables Big Data

Research. According to a new study from Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Yann Padova, the new EU data protection regulation (GDPR) considerably opens up the door for big data. “The new data protection setup is far from being simple or transparent, leaves much clarity to be desired, and gives significant leeway to Member States, but it is a remarkable step towards enabling Big Data in Europe,” they write.

While the directive of 1995 made it difficult for big data to be take place in Europe, its successor, GDPR, paves the way via the use of big data for statistical purposes, the authors argue.

The use of data for statistical purposes is explicitly deemed to not violate the need to stay with a specific purpose. Moreover, the meaning of “statistical purposes” is not narrowly defined in the regulation, and thus can be construed broadly, covering uses not just for the public interest but by private companies for commercial gain as well. This permits the exemption for the use of data for statistical purposes to be repurposed for Big Data applications.

In a nutshell, provided that personal data was originally lawfully collected, and that the data use is construed as a ‘statistical purpose processing’, big data uses can be implemented, the study argues.

Read the whole study here

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