Big Data: The End of Privacy or a New Beginning?


Rubinstein, I. (2013). “Big Data: The End of Privacy or a New Beginning?”. In International Data Privacy Law, January 25, 2013. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Work data:

Type of work: Article (academic)


ICT Infrastructure | Policy & Regulation


big data


Big Data—which may be understood as a more powerful form of data mining that relies on huge volumes of data, faster computers, and new analytic techniques to discover hidden and surprising correlations—challenges international privacy laws in several ways: it casts doubt on the distinction between personal and non-personal data, clashes with data minimization, and undermines informed choice.

Europe is presently considering a General Data Protection Regulation that would replace the ageing Data Protection Directive. This Regulation both creates new individual rights and imposes new accountability measures on organizations that collect or process data.

But the Big Data tsunami is likely to overwhelm these reform efforts. Thus, a supplementary approach should be considered using codes of conduct. In particular, regulators should encourage businesses to adopt new business models premised on consumer empowerment by offering incentives such as regulatory flexibility and reduced penalties.