Revisiting 'The Governance of Privacy': Contemporary Policy Instruments in Global Perspective

Original paper Prepared for the Privacy Law Scholars Conference, Berkeley CA, June 1-2, 2017. Revised version forthcoming in "Regulation and Governance"

46 Pages Posted: 23 May 2017 Last revised: 17 Aug 2018

See all articles by Colin Bennett

Colin Bennett

Department of Political Science, University of Victoria

Charles D. Raab

University of Edinburgh

Date Written: August 16, 2018

Abstract

In the early 2000s, we surveyed and analyzed the global repertoire of policy instruments deployed to protect personal data in “The Governance of Privacy: Policy Instruments in Global Perspective.” In this article, we explore how those instruments have changed as a result of 15 years of fundamental transformations in information technologies, and the new digital economy that they have brought in their wake. We review the contemporary range of transnational, regulatory, self-regulatory and technical instruments according to the same framework, and conclude that the types of policy instrument have remained relatively stable, even though they are now deployed on a global scale, rather than in association with particular national legal and administrative traditions. While the labels remain the same, however, the conceptual foundations for their legitimation and justification are shifting as a greater emphasis on accountability, risk, ethics and the social/political value of privacy have gained purchase in the policy community. Our exercise in self-reflection demonstrates both continuity and change within the governance of privacy, and displays how we would have tackled the same research project today. As a broader case study of regulation, it also highlights the importance of going beyond the technical and instrumental labels. The change or stability of policy instruments do not take place in isolation from the wider conceptualizations that shape their meaning, purpose and effect.

Keywords: Privacy, Data Protection, Governance, Policy Instruments

Suggested Citation

Bennett, Colin and Raab, Charles D., Revisiting 'The Governance of Privacy': Contemporary Policy Instruments in Global Perspective (August 16, 2018). Original paper Prepared for the Privacy Law Scholars Conference, Berkeley CA, June 1-2, 2017. Revised version forthcoming in "Regulation and Governance". Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2972086 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2972086

Colin Bennett (Contact Author)

Department of Political Science, University of Victoria ( email )

3800 Finnerty Rd
Victoria, British Columbia V8P 5C2
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.colinbennett.ca

Charles D. Raab

University of Edinburgh ( email )

Edinburgh, EH8 9LL
United Kingdom

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