The Origins and Meaning of Data Protection

92 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2020

See all articles by Douwe Korff

Douwe Korff

Oxford Martin School - Global Cyber Capacity Centre; Eur. Univ. Viadrina - Centre for Internet & Human Rights; Yale University - Information Society Project; London Metropolitan University

Marie Georges


Date Written: January 13, 2020


This paper reproduces Part One of The DPO Handbook (SSRN publication 3428957) that provides guidance for data protection officers in the public and quasi-public sectors on how to ensure compliance with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679), written by the authors for the EU-funded “T4DATA” programme. It seeks to explain what data protection is and how it developed in Europe, and how the new and “modernised” European data protection instruments seek to address the latest technological developments. It was felt that these issues are of broader interest, also outside of that training project. In particular, it recalls the early beginnings of data protection and the people involved, and thereby provides a small record of matters the recollection of which is beginning to dim.

Keywords: data protection, privacy, international law

JEL Classification: K

Suggested Citation

Korff, Douwe and Georges, Marie, The Origins and Meaning of Data Protection (January 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Douwe Korff (Contact Author)

Oxford Martin School - Global Cyber Capacity Centre ( email )

University of Oxford
34 Broad Street
Oxford, OX1 3BD
United Kingdom

Eur. Univ. Viadrina - Centre for Internet & Human Rights ( email )

Grosse Scharrnstr. 59
Frankfurt (Oder), Brandenburg 15230

Yale University - Information Society Project ( email )

P.O. Box 208206
New Haven, CT 06520-8206
United States

London Metropolitan University ( email )

United Kingdom

Marie Georges

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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