Reply by Ronald Leenes (TILT): Addressing the Obscurity of Data Clouds
TILT Law & Technology Working Paper No. 012/2009
8 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2009 Last revised: 15 Jul 2010
Date Written: April 17, 2009
Gutwirth and de Hert proclaim data protection instrumental to privacy. Privacy incorporates notions such as individuality, autonomy, integrity and dignity. These values are affected by IT systems that use personal data. Data protection regulation aims to control the use of personal data to protect the fundamental values mentioned. Data protection regulation is therefore a transparency tool; it makes the powerful accountable. Modern profiling techniques potentially obscure the concepts and relations underlying the Data protection framework. Some types of profiles derived from data mining constitute digital persona on which decisions about individuals are taken. These profiles by their very essence may render incorrect representations of the individuals to which they are applied, possibly resulting in unfair judgement about them. Transparency in the sense of explicating the profile or inference rules used to derive at particular decisions about individuals seems to be a necessity to guarantee privacy protection. This will, however, not be welcomed by the users of the profiles. Opacity tools, such as Privacy Enhancing Technologies may prove to be necessary complements.
Keywords: Profiling, privacy, data protection, transparency tools, code as law
JEL Classification: K32, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation