Data Protection Law:Approaching Its Rationale, Logic and Limits

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Springer Netherlands, Aug 12, 2002 - Law - 448 pages
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Despite the proliferation of data protection laws (or privacy protection laws) in many countries, uncertainty still reigns as to who or what such laws actually protect. Most data protection laws seem to have been drawn up rather diffusely, with the justification that the huge variety of types of information and specific contexts give rise to a complexity that cannot be guessed at as information technology continues to develop.

Nevertheless, as this ground-breaking book demonstrates, it is essential to understand as best we can why data protection laws are passed, what their regulatory mechanisms are, and wherein lies their particular effectiveness.

Data Protection Law approaches such an analysis along three major avenues of investigation:

  • the interests and values that seem to be promoted by data protection laws;
  • the extent to which the processing of information on private collective entities should be regulated by these laws; and
  • the ability of these laws to control profiling practices.

The author evaluates in detail the costs and/or gains and the interference (positive or negative) in the commercial, public administrative, and social spheres that data protection laws have the potential to create, with numerous references to legislation and administrative decision making in a wide variety of jurisdictions.

This book promises to become a cornerstone in the new edifice of legal scholarship in this field. It will be of immense usefulness to lawyers, scholars, regulators and policymakers in this burgeoning area of the law.

Review(s) Bygrave's book ...helps to get the big picture of some of the most important principles that are embodied in the various data protection rules existing in Europe. Bygrave takes on the ambitious task of confronting several issues that the academic world has had trouble coming to terms with, one of which is trying to bridge the concepts of data protection and privacy. [...] This book will be helpful for privacy scholars, regulators, policymakers, lawyers, and generally anyone who is interested in comparative privacy issues." Cedric Laurant, Electronic Privacy Information Centre, Washington, DC

"The book makes an important contribution to the debate on data protection law as part of an evolving legal framework governing information and information systems. It is to be recommended." Dr Ian Walden, Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London

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