New technologies, purposes and applications to process individual’s personal data are developed on a massive scale. But we have not only entered the ‘golden age of personal data’ in terms of its exploitation: ours is also the ‘golden age of personal data’ in terms of regulation of its use. In this contribution, we explain how regulating the processing of an individual’s personal data can be a proxy of intervention, which directly or indirectly could benefit other individual rights and freedoms. Understood as an enabling right, the architecture of EU data protection law is capable of protecting against many of the negative short- and long-term effects of contemporary data processing. The new General Data Protection Regulation certainly strengthens aspects of this core architecture but certain regulatory innovations to cope with technological advancements and the data-driven economy appear less capably of yielding broad protection for individuals fundamental rights and freedoms. We conclude that from the perspective of protecting individual fundamental rights and freedoms, it would be worthwhile to explore alternative (legal) approaches of personal data in contemporary data processing.
Oostveen, Manon and Irion, Kristina, The Golden Age of Personal Data: How to Regulate an Enabling Fundamental Right? (December 15, 2016). Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No 2016-68; Institute for Information Law Research Paper No 2016-06; in Bakhoum, Conde Gallego, Mackenordt, Surblyte (eds), Personal Data in Competition, Consumer Protection and IP Law – Towards a Holistic Approach? (Berlin, Springer, 2017), forthcoming.