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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
  • 23 September 2016

    The coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of Big Data. Read the Opinion and press statement

  • 22 September 2016

    Migration, security and fundamental rights: A critical challenge for the EU. Read the Opinions and the press release.

  • 08 September 2016

    Accountability needs technology! - read the latest blogpost by Wojciech Wiewiórowski.

  • 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.

  • 30 September 2016

    Giovanni Buttarelli pays an accountability visit to the European Court of Justice, Luxembourg

  • 30 September 2016

    Speech by Giovanni Buttarelli at the Seminar organised by the International Association of Lawyers on Data Protection in Financial Technology, Insurance and Medical Services: A new regulation and perspectives, Luxembourg

  • 29 September 2016

    EDPS-BEUC Conference on Big Data: individual rights and smart enforcement, Speech by Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 28 September 2016

    Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski meeting Michael O'Flaherty, the Director of the  EU Agency for Fundamental Rights Agency, Brussels, Belgium

  • 27 September 2016

    Giovanni Buttarelli meeting Thomas Lösse-Mueller, Head Chancellery Schleswig Holstein, Brussels, Belgium

  • 27 September 2016

    107th Plenary meeting of the Article 29 Working Party, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 27 September 2016

    Giovanni Buttarelli meeting Shadow Rapporteurs on smart borders proposals, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium

  • 26 September 2016

    Seminar on data protection at University of Bologna, Speech by Giovanni Buttarelli, Bologna, Italy