How to protect privacy in a datafied society? A presentation of multiple legal and conceptual approaches

Activity: Talk and presentationAcademic presentationAcademic


The United Nations confirmed that privacy remains a human right in the digital age, but our daily digital experiences and seemingly ever-increasing amounts of data suggest that privacy is a mundane, distributed and technologically mediated concept. This article explores privacy by mapping out different legal and conceptual approaches to privacy protection in the context of datafication. It provides an essential starting point to explore the entwinement of technological, ethical and regulatory dynamics. It clarifies why each of the presented approaches emphasises particular aspects and analyses the tensions that arise. The resulting overview provides insight into the main strengths and limitations of the different approaches arising from specific traditions. This analytic overview therefore serves as a key resource to analyse the usefulness of the approaches in the context of the increasing datafication of both private and public spheres.

Specifically, we contrast the approach focusing on data subjects whose data are being ‘protected’ with others, including Fair Information Practice Principles, the German right to ‘informational self-determination’, and the South American ‘habeas data’ doctrine. We also present and contrast emerging approaches to privacy (differential privacy, contextual integrity, group privacy) and discuss their intersection with datafication. In conclusion, we put forth that rather than aiming for one single solution that works worldwide and across all situations, it is essential to identify synergies and stumbling blocks between the various regulatory settings and newly emerging approaches.
Event titleData Protection Scholars Network - International Data Protection Day
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Data Protection
  • Privacy
  • Datafication
  • Human Dignity
  • Technology