Big Data’s legal and compliance challenges

Author info
Edwin Jacobs

On behalf of time.lex, I was invited to speak at EPCA PAYMENT SUMMIT held in Brussels, in March 2014, about one of the most important topics of today’s technological world: Big Data. The wide regulatory framework is due to Big Data facing a number of legal and compliance challenges. This situation exists because Big Data may conflict with several principles, including:

  • Legitimacy – is there free, specific and informed consent?
  • Purpose restriction – is it proportional (so-called “data minimalisation”) and transparent?
  • Automation use: are there automatically-generated decisions without human intervention?
  • Anonymised or aggregated data is in principle not personal data, but what if one can identify an individual after all …
  • Profiling and behavioural advertising 

Big Data: consumer protection and data privacy

In light of some of these issues, European citizens have grown more conscious about the value and the protection of their personal data. The principal question is no longer: who is the owner of my personal data, but rather: who has actual access to my data?

While a person remains the owner of his/her data, s/he may give access to certain personal data (e.g. address and birth date) to one supplier for a specific purpose, and allow another supplier access for another specific purpose. The question becomes then who manages the access management in this whole scheme? In other words, who is the “gatekeeper”?

Big Data: smart compliance

For merchants and PSPs it is useful to think about Big Data and data protection not only as a regulatory burden and a compliance issue, but also as a potential factor in marketing and sales. Merchants and PSPs should look for constructive or smart ways to comply with the laws and regulations and at the same time promote their services to the customer stating “we care about your data”. 

Smart compliance could be a differentiating marketing argument based, in the end, upon the trust between the supplier and customer. Businesses with a trustworthy reputation have the opportunity to distinguish themselves in this respect in the marketplace.

If you’re interested in reading more about the Big Data smart compliance and privacy laws and regulation, read the dedicated article.

For further information on the legal issues concerning Big Data please contact Edwin Jacobs, lawyer at time.lex.