Legal Recognition of the Digital Trade in Personal Data

Itzayana Tlacuilo Fuentes


In the digital world, millions of consumers transfer their personal data to access and use new Internet technologies every day. The technology industry is making immense profits from this data. It is a social and economic fact that peoples’ personal data is used as an asset in the digital economy. Should consumers be compensated for the value of their personal data? This article argues that it is time to legally recognize the trade in personal data. As a response to increasing crossborder flows, governments protect personal data with privacy frameworks. However, it remains the decision of the consumer to give consent for the transfer of their data. This article proposes that an international framework that recognizes the trade of personal data could generate proper protection for the digital trade, while incentivizing free crossborder data flows and allowing the market to determine the value of the personal data. Moreover, consumers could share in the profits made from their personal information and will personally control their information and privacy. The use of personal data as an asset is a reality that can no longer be avoided. It is necessary to create legal standards to make trade of personal data more transparent, efficient and fair. This article aims to explore the idea of trading in one’s personal data is not a surrealistic scenario, rather, in practice this trade already exists.


Digital Trade; Personal Data; Crossborder Data Flows; Digital Economy; Privacy Framework; Consumer; and Ownership Rights

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