Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) > Academic Seminars > Law: The Dark Side of Big Data?

Law: The Dark Side of Big Data?

BigData    Photo credits: Mark Smith


Thursday 10 April 2014 14-16 pm
Seminar Room 3 EUI - Badia Fiesolana

CMPF Academic Seminar:

Law: The Dark Side of Big Data?

by Prof.  Peggy Valcke

What do Google Flu Trends, Walmart, Netflix and Obama have in common? Big data! They were among the first to deploy advanced data analytics to reveal insights previously hidden by data too costly to process, and to use those insights in meaningful ways to target (potential) customers and voters, improve services, develop new services, etc. Today they are joined by many commercial and public institutions worldwide who want to reap the benefits of advanced data analytics to identify trends and patterns in extremely large datasets collected from a variety of sources.

In 2012, Forbes called Big Data “the hottest tech trend of the year”. With digitization, the amount of recorded and quantifiable data in our world has been exploding. From the beginning of recorded time until 2003, we created 5 billion gigabytes of data. In 2011 the same amount was created every two days. In 2013, that time shrunk to 10 minutes. Data - whether it is geographical information, statistics, weather data, research data, transport data, energy consumption data, mobile data, sensor data, or health data - has become a key asset for the economy and our societies, similar to the classic categories of human and financial resources.

Whereas Big Data has been heralded for its practical and commercial benefits, its legal implications are not yet well understood. Are copyright laws, database protection, privacy regulations, etc. protecting valuable assets, or hindering innovation and the development of new tools and new skills? Will Big Data trigger a fundamental shift in legal reasoning – one from causality to correlation?

This seminar intends to explore legal conflicts that may arise from the increasingly widespread use of big data analytics in businesses, public services, research and other areas of society.



Peggy Valcke is research professor at ICRI-iMinds-KU Leuven and part-time professor at the Robert Schuman Centre at the EUI (working with the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom and the Florence School of Regulation – Communications and Media). Her research focuses on legal implications of media innovation. She was member of an expert group on Text and Data Mining convened by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation from December 2013 to February 2014.









For further information about the event please contact: cmpf@eui.eu 

Page last updated on 30 July 2015