Beyond Privacy: Protecting Data Interests in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Serious challenges are raised by the way in which technology companies like Facebook and Google harvest and process user data. Companies in the modern data economy mine troves of data with sophisticated algorithms to produce valuable behavioural predictions. These data-driven predictions provide companies with a powerful capacity to influence and manipulate users, and these risks are increasing with the explosive growth of ‘Big Data’ and artificial intelligence machine learning. This article analyses the extent to which these challenges are met by existing regimes such as Australia and New Zealand’s respective privacy acts and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regime. While these laws protect certain privacy interests, I argue that users have a broader set of interests in their data meriting protection. I explore three of these novel interests, including the social dimension of data, control and access to predictions mined from data and the economic value of data. This article shows how existing frameworks fail to recognise or protect these novel interests. In light of this failure, lawmakers urgently need to frame new legal regimes to protect against the worst excesses of the data economy.