Fragile or Smart Consumers? Suggestions for the US from the EU

Stanford Law School and the University of Vienna School of Law TTLF Working Paper No. 36/2018. A modified version is forthcoming in Computer Law and Security Review (2019)

23 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018 Last revised: 11 Mar 2019

See all articles by Giuseppe Colangelo

Giuseppe Colangelo

University of Basilicata, Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Economics; Stanford Law School; Bocconi University - Department of Law; LUISS Guido Carli, Department of Business and Management

Mariateresa Maggiolino

Bocconi University - Department of Legal Studies; Ask Research Center

Date Written: August 8, 2018

Abstract

Due to advances in data processing, the use of digital technology is now widespread in many sectors of the world economy. It is possible that, in the near future, only a few markets will remain unaffected by this new industrial revolution. Therefore, even though this new stage in human progress raises some concerns, it is important to understand the many innovations that the digital economy has brought about. In particular, many worry about the millions of passive and relatively powerless digital consumers who, without proper education or awareness, could find themselves manipulated by a few huge and influential companies. This paper will discuss the current state of affairs without fueling any further fear of the digital revolution by rejecting the premise that regulation can be used only as a shield to protect fragile digital consumers. Rather, by taking inspiration from some recent regulations enacted in the European Union, the paper posits that regulation can be used as a sword in the hands of consumers that grants them a leading role in the digital marketplace. It is important to consider how new rules might empower consumers and allow them to make decisions regarding the management of their personal data. After all, one of the cultural roots of Western societies is that every individual should be faber ipsius fortunae, i.e. individuals must forge and build their own destiny and must then be accountable for their choices.

Keywords: Digital markets; big data; personal data; consumers; data control; data portability

JEL Classification: D83, K20, L50

Suggested Citation

Colangelo, Giuseppe and Maggiolino, Mariateresa, Fragile or Smart Consumers? Suggestions for the US from the EU (August 8, 2018). Stanford Law School and the University of Vienna School of Law TTLF Working Paper No. 36/2018. A modified version is forthcoming in Computer Law and Security Review (2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3228376 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3228376

Giuseppe Colangelo (Contact Author)

University of Basilicata, Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Economics ( email )

Via dell'Ateneo Lucano 10
Potenza
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/giuseppecolangelouni/

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.stanford.edu/transatlantic-technology-law-forum/

Bocconi University - Department of Law ( email )

Via Roentgen, 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/giuseppecolangelouni/home

LUISS Guido Carli, Department of Business and Management ( email )

Viale Romania 32
Rome, Roma 00197
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/giuseppecolangelouni/

Mariateresa Maggiolino

Bocconi University - Department of Legal Studies ( email )

Via Roentgen, 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Ask Research Center ( email )

via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

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