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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

[pdf]

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
[pdf]
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