Who Decides on the Future of Data Protection? Role of Law Firms in Shaping European Data Protection Regime
19 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2013 Last revised: 14 Jan 2014
Date Written: February 2, 2013
Drawing on theories of European integration and governance and sociological studies on the influence of elite law firms on rule-setting, this paper shows that law firms (a) operate in the area of data protection that is of extreme complexity and requires expert knowledge; and (b) display other characteristics similar to other actors who succeeded in influencing agenda-setting and results of policy-making despite having no formal competence to do so. This article proposes a hypothesis of the influence of elite law firms in EU data protection rule-setting. It argues that the EU data protection sector is prone to such influence as it is by definition transnational and, at some technical and some core points, inadequate to reflect the real data processing practices and therefore is entrenched with uncertainty. Therefore, the research into politics of data protection in Europe cannot disregard the role of these actors in shaping the European data protection regime.
Keywords: Law firms, privatisation of rule-setting, data protection
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