Data Protection legislation killed Big Data. Did it?


In Europe, it is rather difficult to get into the different member states legislation to find out how to apply data driven applications that are in accordance with the regional laws. The save-harbour principle tells us basically, that data that is referring to a specific person, may not leave Europe. But what does that mean?

Especially US Cloud and Big Data providers might find this difficult, sind the US law forces these companies to share the data with the US government (especially the intelligence services). This means a conflict in legislation itself. American companies are somewhat under heavy pressure in loosing large european customers that want their data “save” – from a legal point of view.

Another problem is associated with the collection and storage of personal data. If we look at (not only) social media platforms, once you post something, it is there forever – even though you delete it.

If we focus on retail, what does that mean? Many of us have customer benefit program cards, which eventually means that data about our behaviour is collected. This gives us the possibility to get discounts that fit our behaviour and needs and allows the retail companies better marketing. On the other hand, what happens if I want my data deleted? As of now, I am not aware of any legal aspects of that. What happens with my data? Will it stay forever with the retail company and is there anything I can do about it?

What we need is a liberal but still good data protection standard that helps the individual and the economy – full security for individuals isn’t possible, but companies should’t be allowed to do all. We need to meet somewhere in the middle, which might be a difficult task for the next years.

I invite you to join the discussion about that!

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Published by

Mario Meir-Huber

I work as Big Data Architect for Microsoft. With this role, I support my customers in applying Big Data technologies - mainly Hadoop/Spark - for their use-cases. I also teach this topic at various universities and frequently speak at various Conferences. In 2010 I wrote a book about Cloud Computing, which is often used at German & Austrian Universities. In my home country (Austria) I am part of several organisations on Big Data.

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