Regulating Algorithms’ Regulation? First Ethico-Legal Principles, Problems, and Opportunities of Algorithms

  • Giovanni ComandèEmail author
Part of the Studies in Big Data book series (SBD, volume 32)


Algorithms are regularly used for mining data, offering unexplored patterns and deep non-causal analyses in what we term the “classifying society”. In the classifying society individuals are no longer targetable as individuals but are instead selectively addressed for the way in which some clusters of data that they (one or more of their devices) share with a given model fit in to the analytical model itself. This way the classifying society might bypass data protection as we know it. Thus, we argue for a change of paradigm: to consider and regulate anonymities—not only identities—in data protection. This requires a combined regulatory approach that blends together (1) the reinterpretation of existing legal rules in light of the central role of privacy in the classifying society; (2) the promotion of disruptive technologies for disruptive new business models enabling more market control by data subjects over their own data; and, eventually, (3) new rules aiming, among other things, to provide to data generated by individuals some form of property protection similar to that enjoyed by the generation of data and models by businesses (e.g. trade secrets). The blend would be completed by (4) the timely insertion of ethical principles in the very generation of the algorithms sustaining the classifying society.


Business Model Personal Data Data Protection Consumer Protection Legal Rule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Artificial intelligence


California business and professions code


California civil code


Connecticut general statutes annotated


Domain awareness system


U.S. Department of Homeland Security


Deoxyribonucleic acid


European data protection supervisor


Electronic Frontier Foundation


European Union


European Union general data protection regulation


European Union Court of Justice


Federal Trade Commission


Code of Georgia annotated


Global positioning system


Global system for mobile communications


GSM Association


Information and communications technology


National Security Agency


Privacy-enhancing technologies


Privacy policy terms and conditions


United States District Court for the southern district of New York


Terms of service


World Economic Forum


World Privacy Forum


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna PisaPisaItaly

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