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Big Data: we need to protect the persons behind the data

Big Data is changing the manner in which the society can be understood. It provides valuable insights and offers opportunities for innovation, enhancing productivity and social participation.
Big Data: we need to protect the persons behind the data

Strasbourg, 24.01.2017:

The nature of Big Data may make very challenging the application of traditional principles of personal data protection, such as purpose limitation or data minimisation. We must ensure that when Big Data involves the processing of personal data, each of us is in a position to exercise our personal autonomy and our right to control our data.

The Guidelines on Big Data adopted by the Consultative Committee of the Council of Europe´s data protection convention (Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, also known as Convention 108) will provide valuable assistance to policy makers and to organisations processing personal data to ensure that persons are placed at the centre of our digital economies.

Alessandra Pierucci, Chairperson of the Committee of Convention 108 highlighted “the importance of providing guidance on what has become in the past years an exponential source of knowledge, and an exponential source of processing of personal data. This first step of the Committee towards a stronger protection of persons in our big data environment will have to lead to further steps, to follow the fast pace evolution of big data related technologies”.


Protecting private life

You go somewhere, you buy something, you apply for a job, you pay your bills : you live... and at each of those moments of your life, your personal information is used, collected, processed. In order to protect your right to private life, with regard to the automatic processing of your personal data, the Council of Europe elaborated the "Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data".

Thirty years after its entry into force, this Convention still remains the only binding international legal instrument in the field, with a potential worldwide scope of application.

 

 

Beyond

The Council of Europe has released this hard-hitting short film to highlight the dangers posed by those who wish to illegally obtain private data.

The film shows a data intruder running through a building and downloading one victim's personal data at home, another's medical records during an examination by a doctor and a third victim's bank details during a transaction at his bank. It ends with a reminder that the Council of Europe has a convention on data protection.

Convention 108+ Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data

 Know more on the modernised Convention 108

 Link to the document

Handbook on European data protection law - 2018 edition


Handbook on European data protection law

The rapid development of information technology has exacerbated the need for robust personal data protection, the right to which is safeguarded by both European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) instruments. Safeguarding this important right entails new and significant challenges as technological advances expand the frontiers of areas such as surveillance, communication interception and data storage. This handbook is designed to familiarise legal practitioners not specialised in data protection with this emerging area of the law. It provides an overview of the EU’s and the CoE’s applicable legal frameworks. It also explains key case law, summarising major rulings of both the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights. In addition, it presents hypothetical scenarios that serve as practical illustrations of the diverse issues encountered in this ever-evolving field.

Download the Handbook 

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Committee of Convention 108

36th Plenary meeting
Strasbourg, 19-21 June 2018

45th Bureau meeting
Paris, 24-26 September 2018

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