Data Market Discipline: From Financial Regulation to Data Governance

J. Int’l & Comparative Law – (2021)

25 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2021 Last revised: 3 Aug 2021

See all articles by Sebastian Benthall

Sebastian Benthall

New York University School of Law

Salome Viljoen

NYU School of Law; Independent; Columbia Law School; Cornell Tech ; Harvard University

Date Written: January 27, 2021


Privacy regulation has traditionally been the remit of consumer protection, and
privacy harm cast as a contractual harm arising from the interpersonal exchanges between data
subjects and data collectors. This frames surveillance of people by companies as primarily a
consumer harm. In this paper, we argue that the modern economy of personal data is better
understood as an extension of the financial system. The data economy intersects with capital
markets in ways that may increase systemic and systematic financial risks. We contribute a new
regulatory approach to privacy harms: as a source of risk correlated across households, firms,
and the economy as a whole. We consider adapting tools from macroprudential regulations
designed to mitigate financial crises to the market for personal data. We identify both promises
and pitfalls to viewing individual privacy through the lens of the financial system.

Keywords: privacy, data governance, financial regulation, big data, surveillance, data economy

Suggested Citation

Benthall, Sebastian and Viljoen, Salome, Data Market Discipline: From Financial Regulation to Data Governance (January 27, 2021). J. Int’l & Comparative Law – (2021) , Available at SSRN: or

Sebastian Benthall (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

Salome Viljoen

NYU School of Law ( email )

Independent ( email )

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th St
NEW YORK, NY 10027

Cornell Tech ( email )

111 8th Avenue #302
New York, NY 10011
United States

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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