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Big data

Big data means large amounts of different types of data produced at high speed from multiple sources, whose handling and analysis require new and more powerful processors and algorithms. Not all of these data are personal, but many players in the digital economy increasingly rely on the large scale collection of and trade in personal information. As well as benefits, these growing markets pose specific risks to individual's rights to privacy and to data protection. The EDPS is actively exploring how the EU can best meet these new challenges.

In March 2014 the EDPS published a Preliminary Opinion on 'Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data: The interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the Digital Economy'.  The paper has helped stimulate discussions between policy makers, regulators and specialists across these policy areas. The EDPS hosted a workshop in Brussels on 2 June, attended by experts from the European Commission, national regulators, academics and NGOs, as well as the US Federal Trade Commission. A report summarising the themes of this discussion, which was held under the Chatham House Rule, is available below.

> Report of workshop on Privacy, Consumers, Competition and Big Data, 2 June 2014


The EDPS with the European Academy of Law will hold a workshop on 24 September 2015 in Brussels, to go deeper into these issues. Topic for the event, 'Competition Rebooted: Enforcement and Personal Data in Digital Markets' will include:

  • the role of personal data in competition and economic analysis of digital markets,
  • rethinking the SSNIP test,
  • whether there is a need to modernise merger assessment,
  • considering data related concessions as commitments and remedies,
  • whether personal information could be used to foreclose competitors and exploit consumers,
  • responses from regulators.

The programme is available here, for further information and to register click here.

Two events supported by EDPS took place in January and February 2015 to take forward discussions on the issues raised in the Preliminary Opinion and the June 2014 workshop.

> Privacy Platform meeting on 'Privacy and Competition in the Digital Economy’, 1-2.30pm, 21 January 2015, at Les Halles de Schaerbeek, Rue Royale-Sainte-Marie 22, 1030 Brussels, Belgium. Giovanni Buttarelli’s speaking points are available here.

> Concurrences half-day seminar on "Antitrust, Privacy & Big Data", 12.30pm, 3 February 2015 at the offices of Cadwalader,  22-28 Avenue d’Auderghem, 1040 Brussels’s Brussels Office. Giovanni Buttarelli’s speaking points are available here
EDPS Opinion of 19 November 2015, Meeting the challenges of big data, A call for transparency, user control, data protection by design and accountability
  • 17 August 2016

    The EDPS, in collaboration with European consumer organisation BEUC, is hosting a joint conference on Big Data: individual rights and smart enforcement. The conference will take place in Brussels on 29 September 2016. For more information on the conference and how to register, visit the EDPS Events page.

  • 05 August 2016

    Our IT services are undergoing scheduled maintenance from 12 to 15 August. Please note that, for technical reasons, we cannot guarantee that the complaints and annexed files submitted during this period will reach us - despite a possible acknowledgement of receipt. Should you not receive any acknowledgement of receipt within 10 working days from submitting your complaint, please do let us know.

  • 25 July 2016

    ePrivacy rules should be smarter, clearer, stronger. Read the EDPS opinion and the press release.

  • 18 July 2016

    Data protection and Whistleblowing in the EU Institutions. Please read the EDPS guidelines and the press release.

  • 15 July 2016

    The EDPS’ free app, EU Data Protection, has been updated! You can now consult the texts of General Data Protection Regulation (REG) 2016/679 and the Directive 2016/680 for the police and criminal justice sector alongside the texts they replace.

  • 26 July 2016

    Fablab on GDPR, Participation of Wojciech Wiewiórowski and Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 25 July 2016

    Extraordinary Plenary Session of the Article 29 Working Party, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 21 July 2016

    45th Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum, Participation and speeches of Giovanni Buttarelli on Update on EU GDPR and Calibrating Privacy Principles to a Big Data and Digital Society, Singapore

  • 14 July 2016

    Launch of EU Data Protection Whitepaper, British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark, Keynote speech by Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 07 July 2016

    Marketing and profiling in the European Union, participation and speeches by Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 06 July 2016

    Privacy Laws & Business Annual International Conference, Wojciech Wiewiórowski in panels on Privacy terms and conditions and How data protection rules should be enforced in tandem with competition and consumer policy, Cambridge, UK

  • 06 July 2016

    Confindustria Radio Televisioni General Assembly 2016, Giovanni Buttarelli in a panel on Authority, Markets and Rights, Rome, Italy

  • 30 June 2016

    Reframing Data Transparency, Wojciech Wiewiórowski in a Roundtable Discussion organised by the Centre for Information Policy Leadership and Telefónica, London, UK