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Reviews of book

Commentary on "Data Protection Law: Approaching Its Rationale, Logic and Limits"

"... a work of large legal importance [...] The lessons we should draw from this book will not be confined to the issues of data protection"
     -- Justice Michael Kirby (High Court of Australia) in his preface to the book

"... a well-written and well-argued treatise on the philosophical basis of data protection law in Europe []. Overall, the book makes an important contribution to the debate on data protection law as part of an evolving legal framework governing information and information systems. It is to be recommended"
     -- Dr. Ian Walden (Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary College, University of London) in his review of the book appearing in Communications Law, 2004, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 33

"[Bygrave's book] contribute[s] significantly to our understanding of the modern notion of privacy in relation to personal information. [...] ... Bygrave shows himself to be gifted with a nice dose of semantic and analytical rigor. He is very keen on presenting his conceptual tool-kit as a clean and well-ordered one, presenting meticulous methodological explanations of his scholarly enterprise, clear hypotheses and extensive definitions, stipulations and conceptual schemes of a large number of his key notions. In this respect Bygrave tries to connect to and to build on the contributions from the side of legal and moral theorists to the debate on privacy. And he certainly succeeds in doing so. In his book, the author confronts us, first, with a stipulative definition of privacy as a condition of limited access and ample reflection on the role that this idea plays in existing privacy law and regulation. He then proceeds with what he considers to be the origins, the point, the logic and limits of existing privacy laws and regulation; after that he explains why and to what degree (the principles behind) those laws should come to bear on information about collective entities and on profiling of characteristics of individuals and groups. All this is done in light of what Bygrave refers to as the 'increasing electronic interpenetration of previously distinct spheres of activity': the use and re-use of information across traditional organisational boundaries and an ever increasing role for machines in the processing and control of data and information. Bygrave, in fact, tries to explore the consequences that important technological and socio-economic developments should have for the laws and regulations with regard to privacy in the light of what can be considered to be the original rationale of the existing laws and regulation. This enterprise is, of course, not identical with sketching the contextual-functional account of privacy, which, to my mind, is so needed in the debate on privacy; but it comes close to it and doubtlessly will contribute to our understanding of what such an account looks like. In this way, Bygrave not only succeeds in drawing a rather convincing sketch of how and to what degree the scope of our privacy laws and regulation could be widened so to include information on collective entities and information deriving from profiling; he also implicitly provides us with insights into the ways in which our understanding of the notion of privacy changes under the influence of external factors."
     -- Dr. Anton Vedder (University of Tilburg) in his review of the book appearing in Information Polity, 2003, vol. 8, no. 1-2, pp. 80-84

"Bygrave's book ...helps to get the big picture of some of the most important principles that are embodied in the various data protection rules existing in Europe. Bygrave takes on the ambitious task of confronting several issues that the academic world has had trouble coming to terms with, one of which is trying to bridge the concepts of data protection and privacy. [...] This book will be helpful for privacy scholars, regulators, policymakers, lawyers, and generally anyone who is interested in comparative privacy issues."
     -- Cédric Laurant, Electronic Privacy Information Centre, Washington, DC


Copyright © 2006 Lee Bygrave