Big Data and Analytical Data are Two Different Phenomena

18 may 2016

At the VI St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, Yuri Ammosov, the Adviser to the Head of the Analytical Center, delivered his report “Big Data: Personal or Not” within the round table “Information Security in the Digital Environment: Big Data Usage Limits.” Mr. Ammosov said that the legal regime of personal data is based on a discretional provision containing such vague wordings like ‘any information’, ‘directly or indirectly’ and ‘defined or to be defined’ that give space for an inconsistent and contradictory definition of the regulated subject.

“Big data result in a reply that looks mathematically as a narrow subset of a number of sets,” said Yuri Ammosov. “This subset may contain only one element, but even in this case the subset is not identical to its element legally, mathematically or philosophically. The fundamental difference in primary essences and their kinds and types detected as long ago as by Aristotle is not found in logics of the domestic laws and should be found directly. Big data are orthogonal to personal data and should not be legally mixed therewith.”

In his report, Mr. Ammosov described some situations when big data relating to activities of people might result or resulted in a violation of their privacy. In the opinion of Mr. Ammosov, the constitutional right of people to the protection of their privacy is inviolable, but should be protected by using already existing general legal protection methods as much as possible, rather than by the method of endless extension of the personal data mode.