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Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data

1 April 2014

On 26 March 2014 the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issued a press release announcing his preliminary opinion on the convergence and tensions in the interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the age  of big data.

Peter Hustinx, EDPS, said: 

"the evolution of big data has exposed gaps in EU competition, consumer protection and data protection policies that do not seem to have kept up with this development. Smarter interaction across these partially overlapping policy areas will support growth and innovation and minimise the potential harm to consumers. The EDPS is pleased to be facilitating discussions between regulators and experts in these fields."

As the increase in and use of big data increases, the EDPS has quite rightly highlighted the need for dialogue between policy makers and experts in the fields of data protection, competition law and consumer protection as they apply to big data practices.

Just because technology enables research and analytics into big data to be more easily used, it does not necessarily mean that it always benefits the consumer.

There is a risk of anti-competitive behaviour by those in the market place who are big data gate-keepers and without control there is a risk that the interests of industry will take precedence over the rights of consumers and the rights of individuals in respect of their personal data.

The EDPS intends to facilitate a workshop for discussion amongst experts and practitioners from the EU and the US at a workshop in Brussels on 2 June 2014.

This article was written by Robert Bond.

For more information contact Robert on +44 (0)20 7427 6660 or robert.bond@crsblaw.com