Harmed While Anonymous
Beyond the Personal/Non-Personal Distinction in Data Governance
Keywords:data analytics, data protection law, personal data, non-personal data, targeted advertising, discrimination, manipulation, mental health
Data law and policy assume that harms to individuals can result only from personal data processing. Conversely, generation and use of non-personal data supposedly create new value while presenting no risk to individual interests or fundamental rights. Consequently, the law treats these two categories differently, constraining generation, use, and sharing of the former while incentivizing the latter. This article challenges this assumption. It proposes to divide data-related harms into two high-level categories: unwanted disclosure and detrimental use. It demonstrates how personal/non-personal data distinction prevents unwanted disclosure but fails to capture, and unintendedly enables, detrimental use of data. As a remedy, the article proposes a new concept – data about humans – and illustrates how it could advance data law and policy.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Przemysław Pałka
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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EEA Grants/Norway Grants
Grant numbers 2020/37/K/HS5/02769