Maria Francesca De Tullio

Privacy and Big Data towards a collective constitutional dimension

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Big Data; Collective Management; Privacy; Informational Self-determination; Open Data; Information Democracy.

The present work aims to find a measure of coexistence between two conflicting values: on the one side, there is the need of gathering, analysing and using huge sets of digital information (so called «big data»), while on the opposite side stands the right to privacy, which burdens each data processing with the requirement of the data subject's consent. This analysis brings to surface an emerging aspect of «informational self-determination»: namely a collective nature of that right, which now comes to light in addition to the individual one. Indeed, nowadays people's data flows as a critical mass and is processed in big sets; therefore, the entire community - and not only individuals - has an entitlement on its own information. But the only way to enforce that self-determination is to make these pieces of information «open» to everyone, and to let the society administrate them to pursue constitutional ends such as equality, fundamental rights and democracy. The achievement of this objectives mandates to overcome the myth, now transformed in a «tragedy of anti-commons», which still shuts the data as monads in corporate and governmental archives. The supra-individual dimension of both values, «big data» and privacy, suggests a balancing measure that leads to variable results. That is to say that the latter can be sacrificed for the sake of a public utility use of data, but, on the contrary, privacy shall stand as a firm obstacle against the bulk collection of data for profit purposes or for secret surveillance.

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