Big data and smart devices and their impact on privacy

EU Committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE)

This 42 page study, requested by the Committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE), argues that the promotion of a data-driven economy should not underestimate the challenges raised for privacy and personal data protection and that strengthening the rights of digital citizens should be the main focus of the current debates around the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The numerous debates triggered by the increased collection and processing of personal data for various – and often unaccountable – purposes are particularly vivid at the EU level. Two interlinked, and to some extent conflicting, initiatives are relevant here: the development of EU strategies promoting a data-driven economy and the current reform of the EU personal data protection legal framework in the context of the adoption of a GDPR. In this context, and focusing on the development of Big Data practices, smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), this Study shows that the high degree of opacity of many contemporary data processing activities directly affects the right of the individuals to know what is being done with the data collected about them.

As EU citizens and residents are directly impacted by EU strategies in the field of Big Data. Indeed, the data-driven economy poses significant challenges to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, notably in the fields of privacy and personal data protection.

In order to address the issues at stake, the present Study provides an overview of Big Data and smart devices, outlining their technical components and uses.

Direct link to study PDF.

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