We will first provide an inventory of the European and French legal framework surrounding the management of personal data. We will then highlight the concerns of communication theorists and professionals regarding the protection of this data.
The current order does not seem to keep up with the complex reality of the free movement of personal data on networks.
In order not to fall into a situation where the protection of privacy becomes a market to the detriment of the consumer, new forms of regulation of electronic communication need to be designed.
Because the process originating from the technical characteristics of electronic communication overturns traditional data protection rules.
It forces us to rethink the concept of personal data and a global model that responds to a new logic of Web governance.
Currently, large amounts of data are the subject of intra-school, intra-community and non-community business transactions in fractions of a second.
Understanding the importance, nature and formation of personal data protection tools and rethinking in an environment characterized by constant movement are at the center of this contribution.
The fact that these thoughts shed light on the practices of communication professionals also feeds the reflections in the field of information and communication sciences. Also, this topic has a strong economic dimension as data has become a commodity today.
What happens to our personal data when we board the plane? What happens when we open a bank account? What happens when we share photos on a social network? Who uses this data and how? How is this information flow achieved? How can we permanently delete personal data from a profile created in a social network? Can social networks sell our contacts, information and photos to a company?
For companies in the 21st century, the management of potential customers’ personal data is the epicenter of the marketing system, its activities and its development.
The risks are so great that if this data is inadequately protected, the consequences on the company’s self-image can be very serious.
The commercialization and hence distribution of user data on the Internet can also have unfortunate consequences for this same user.
With the emergence of the digital society, the collection, management and trade of such data has become commonplace for certain economic players on the Web.
As it can be easily verified, with the rapid development of the Internet, e-mail, websites, company directories, forums, etc. There is a very strong increase in the number and type of data available to access in a professional environment such as.
Their collection includes two types of data:
- visible data such as business information, customer files, as well as navigation and
- data (or invisible data) saved without the user’s knowledge, such as connection data.
When paying by credit card, a simple order or delivery receipt, personal data is used: name, address, credit card number, as well as the nature of the purchase, types of products and frequency of purchases, etc.
Going over all this data may undermine the respect for one’s private life for the benefit of the administration, telecommunications operators, health institutions, banks, insurance companies, mass distribution and service companies.
The rise of Web 2.0 has become a major challenge for modern democratic states, raising widespread concerns about the security and protection of this personal data.
In this sense, the European Union has structured special regulations:
- obligation to keep personal data confidential and secure
- prohibiting the collection of this data without notifying the relevant persons, and
- Countries that do not have protection arrangements similar to those that exist within the EU.
This European mechanism has influenced some non-member states that have understood the democratic implications of the problem and have adopted special arrangements, be it Israel, Russia, Argentina or India.
Others, such as China, New Zealand, Australia and the United States, do not enjoy special protection to date. (In the second country, personal data is assumed to be available unless the person expressly objects.)
One of the main problems today is the lack of a unified definition and legal protection of personal data. Therefore, it is likely to vary from country to country.
According to the concept of a closed network, community regulations will have all the elements to ensure that the internet user’s privacy is effectively protected. However, his respect will only be within the school.
Faced with the Internet, open to everyone, everywhere and at all times, this attempt at regulation was doomed on the one hand.
On the other hand, it reveals the helplessness of states and political blocs. Protecting personal data and, accordingly, the privacy of citizens is only at the heart of a democratic society.
The web has no borders and today, thanks to the Cloud, personal data can be sent from Toulouse to Uruguay and from there to the islands for processing.
The situation arising from the technical characteristics of electronic communication thus overturns traditional data protection rules.
It invites us to reconsider the concept of personal data and rethink new forms of communication organization.