Mining Data

One of the most profitable activities in the world today is data mining. Internet companies offer “free” applications for your devices to enable you to search the internet, to buy goods competitively, to arrange your transport and get advice on all sorts of matters. Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch and in return these companies harvest your personal information which they use to sell to advertisers and companies that will try to entice you to buy their particular goods and services using the most sophisticated methods known to man.

One of the better projects of the European Union was to create a directive – in effect a law – which seeks to protect personal information that you may have revealed in the course of your use of the internet. The guiding principle is that such information can only be mined under strict conditions and used for legitimate purposes.

The directive is not written in the clearest language and leaves plenty of scope for EU member states to interpret it in ways that suit themselves and the corporations that mine data the best. As yet there are many aspects of the directive which need to be completed before we can say that the law properly protects our personal information. Perhaps that will come in time.

You can read the directive at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:31995L0046 .

In the fullness of time there will be many court cases which decide the meaning of the directive and volumes of guidance and local regulations will be written, which will reveal whether the directive will really protect citizens or whether it will be watered down.

 

 

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