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The University of Southampton
Interdisciplinary Research Excellence

Groups, privacy and collective interests in the big data era Event

29 January 2015
Building 4, Room 4003 Highfield Campus University of Southampton

For more information regarding this event, please email .

Event details

Since their origins, both privacy and data protection have been considered as individual rights even though the social dimension of these rights has been pointed out by courts and data protection authorities, as well as by policy makers. Nevertheless, the right holder has always been the data subject and the rights related to informational privacy have been mainly exercised by single individuals.

This approach based on individual rights seems to be consistent with the traditional notion of group as an aggregate of the relationships existing among the members of the group. In this sense, group privacy determines the character of the sharing of personal information that takes place within a group.

This atomistic view seems to be inadequate in the existing context of predictive analytics.

groups and can make it without identifying data subjects.

The new element of this group analysis is given by the fact that groups can be designed by data gatherers, by selecting specific clusters of information. Data gatherers shape the population they intend to investigate and collect personal information about different persons that do not know the other members of the group and, in many cases, are also unaware of the consequences to be part of the group.

The different nature of these groups requires a different approach that cannot be exclusively based on individual rights. The new scale entails the recognition of another layer, represented by the rights of groups to the protection of their privacy and (aggregate) personal information.

As in other cases of collective and diffuse interests, the focus should be on specific interests and on the capacity of certain entities to act in order to protect them. It is also necessary to define which rights can be exercised by these entities and when the collective dimension sets limits to the exercise of individual rights to privacy and data protection.

Alessandro Mantelero is aggregate professor of Private Law at the Polytechnic University of Turin,director of privacy and faculty fellow at the Nexa Center for Internet and Society. He is academic coordinator of the Double Degree program in Management and IP Law (Polytechnic University of Turin and Tongji University of Shanghai), and research consultant at the Sino-Italian Research Center for Internet Torts at Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology.

His academic work is primarily in the area of law & technology. His research has explored topics including data protection, legal implications of cloud computing and Big Data, robotics law, e-government and e-democracy.He was visiting researcher at Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, visiting fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, and visiting professor at the Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology.


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