Economie numérique

The Economics of Personal Data and Privacy: 30 Years after the OECD Privacy Guidelines



Conference held at the
OECD Conference center
Paris, France
1 December 2010


Roundtable ProceedingsBackground ReportsAgenda, Biographies and PresentationsContact


For further information visit:



The use of data, including personal data, is growing at a terrific rate. Global flows of data are increasing, as is the capacity of organisations to analyse and put data to productive use. One common example is online advertising, which leverages personal data to target potential customers and to measure effectiveness of the marketing campaigns. But personal data is bringing economic and social value in many ways, from supply chain management to product design and delivery, from risk assessment to research, and across a wide range of economic sectors including the financial services and health sector.


This Roundtable, the third and final event marking the anniversary of the OECD Guidelines for the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Data Flows, was held at the OECD on 1 December 2010. It examined the economic dimensions of personal data and privacy. Participants considered how data generates value to individuals, organisations, and society more broadly. More particularly, it has focused on understanding the uses and value of personal data in the private sector, as well as the emergence of a privacy profession and other issues related to the business of privacy. 


Organised jointly by the Working Party on Information Security and Privacy and the Working Party on the Information Economy, the input and insights from the Roundtable, will inform the preparation of a report on this topic by the OECD in 2011, as well as contributing to a broader OECD project linking intangible assets to new sources of growth.


Roundtable Proceedings


Summary of the Rountable presentations and discussion


Background Reports


Agenda, Biographies and Presentations


Agenda [PDF - 176kb]

Biographies [PDF - kb]


Welcome Remarks

  •  Andrew Wyckoff, Director of Science, Technology and Industry, OECD 

Session I. Big Data and Global Flows

We live in an age of data abundance. Ever-expanding amounts of digital information and the increasing technological capabilities to analyse data present enormous economic opportunities but also pose privacy challenges. Global data flows are continuous, multi-directional and often involve many entities in processing activities. Electronic data transfers underpin transactions and operations across industries and borders in our globalised economy. Individuals are now key contributors to our data-driven economy, whether conducting online banking transactions or posting photographs on social networking sites. Modern analytical techniques and computational power allow organisations to harness large amount of information to enable data-driven decision making. This session will examine volumes, varieties and uses of personal data and map international flows, within and across organisations.


Key Issues for Discussion 

  • What are the technical capabilities and economic incentives for processing big data
  • How do organisations collect and extract data from multiple sources and data sets
  • How are data collected are processed, analysed and transferred within and across organisations


  • Jeff Jonas, Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics Group and an IBM Distinguished Engineer - Presentation   
  • Kenneth Cukier, Japan business and finance correspondent, The Economist
  • John Boswell, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, SAS Institute, Inc. - Presentation   
  • Marc Latouche, Director of Internet Business Solutions Group, CISCO - Presentation   
  • Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation, Oxford Internet Institute
  • Yoshiaki Tojo, Director, Information Services Industry Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan

Session II. Valuing Personal Data in Online and Financial Services

Many of the uses of data are common across different types of areas and activities, for example using data to address fraud and security concerns. Other uses are unique to certain sectors and this session will focus on two sectors in particular: financial services and online services. The financial services sector has been a leader in utilising data in order to offer products and services to consumers. Many organisations are adept at collecting data from various sources and deploying tools to aggregate and process data. Data flows and sharing amongst various players has generated significant economic value for the organisations and consumers in the financial sector.

The more recent emergence of an online services industry has produced innovative ways to generate and maximise the value of personal data for marketing purposes. Many organisations are not only utilising traditional methods of reviewing purchasing trends and customer feedback, but also actively monitoring customer behaviour online and extracting customer preference based on such monitoring. This data can be used to optimise marketing and product/service development as well as for internal planning purposes.


Key Issues for Discussion   

  • What is the economic and social value of data use in the financial services sector, including for customer acquisition, risk management, fraud management and collections?
  • What kinds of mechanisms support processing data for loan/credit granting, and the importance of volume and accuracy of data to make it more valuable for financial institutions?
  • What types of data are collected by online services and what mechanisms are used for marketing purposes?
  • How can we measure the value of data, not only for marketing services, but also for improving products and services and strategic business planning?


  • Catherine Tucker, Douglas Drane Career Development Professor in IT and Management, MIT Sloan School of Management - Presentation   
  • Jane Hamilton, Electronic Commerce Policy, Industry Canada
  • Betsy Masiello, Policy Manager, Google - Presentation   
  • Gabriel de Montessus, Vice President for Strategy & Corporate Finance, Hi-media Groupe - Presentation   
  • Martin Abrams, Executive Director, Centre for Information Policy Leadership - Presentation   
  • Chris Gration, Head of External Relations, Veda Advantage - Presentation   
  • Joonhwa Choung, Team Leader of Customer Relationship Management, KB Kookmin Bank - Presentation   

Session III. Valuing Personal Data in the Health Sector 

New methods of data use in the heath sector offer promise for improving people’s well-being. They not only generate economic value but also benefits to wider society. Sharing of health data through electronic health records facilitates access to medical care and provides useful insights for product and services innovation, including for research on new medicines and therapies. Personal health data are also being actively supplied by consumers themselves to be stored online and exchanged through health-focused social networks. This session looks at the broader economic and social benefits of the use of health data and their privacy concerns.


Key Issues for Discussion   

  • What types of data are used for various medical purposes and health care system management
  • What are the mechanisms behind processing data for clinical research and administrative health data?
  • How can we measure the economic and social value of processing health data?


  • Peter Desmond Singleton, Director, Cambridge Health Informatics and Principal Research Fellow, University College London - Presentation   
  • Elliot Maxwell, President, E-maxwell and Associates
  • Anne Bahr, Deputy R&D Data Privacy Officer, Sanofi-Aventis - Presentation   
  • Frederike Diersen, Senior Legal and Policy Advisor, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Netherlands - Presentation   
  • Gerrard Abi-Aad, Policy Analyst, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD - Presentation   

Session IV. The Business of Privacy

One of the key changes to the privacy landscape in recent years is the rise of the privacy practitioner and emergence of a privacy profession.  Organisations are devoting increased resources to internal governance mechanisms to protect personal data, suggesting that the protection of privacy makes good business sense. The beginnings of a market can now been seen for privacy tools and services to organisations and individuals as well to address trust and reputation issues.  Although regulatory compliance is still a core motivator, the scale of these developments suggests a broader set of economic drivers may be supporting privacy protection as we move into an age of data abundance.


Key Issues for Discussion

  • How has the role of the privacy professional evolved within organisations and the privacy community, and is it linked to the increasing value of personal data?
  • What kinds of innovative measures are being developed by trustmarks and reputation services to improve privacy practices?
  • What does the future hold for the privacy profession, and other organisational investments in privacy protection?
  • How can organisations be encouraged to take ownership of privacy risks, and what value do individuals put on their own privacy?


  • Alessandro Acquisti, Associate Professor, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University - Presentation   
  • David Smith, Deputy Information Commissioner, United Kingdom 
  • J. Trevor Hughes, Executive Director, International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Paolo Balboni, European Privacy Association - Presentation   
  • Owen Tripp, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Reputation Defender - Presentation   
  • Andreas Krisch, President, European Digital Rights - Presentation   

Concluding Session: Examining the implications for privacy governance and mapping future work

Work to understand the changing economics dimensions of personal data and privacy is not fully mature at this stage, but may be quite important to informing policy discussions about how the uses of personal data should be governed.  This session aims to recap some of the key points developed during the Roundtable, and explore which ones should be further explored. The discussion will keep mind two strands of future OECD work.  The first aims to situate the economics of personal data within the broader class of intangible assets and explore its links to economic growth. The second strand involves privacy principles governing the use of personal data, in the form of a review of the 1980 Privacy Guidelines.


Key Issues for Discussion   

  • What should the OECD do to better understand the value and volume of personal data? What are the economic consequences of developments in this area? 
  • What are the implications of the increasing economic and social value of personal data for privacy governance?


  • Daniela Battisti, Agency for Inward Investments and Business Development,  Italy (Chair of the WPIE)
  • Steven Lett, Deputy Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, Department of State, United States
  • Sophie Nerbonne, International and IT Department, CNIL, France
  • Anna Fielder, Steering Committee Member, Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council to OECD
  • Mark Lange, Senior Policy Counsel, Microsoft Corporation - Presentation   

Closing Remarks

  • Keith Besgrove, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy, Australia  (Chair of the WPISP)



If you need any information, please contact [email protected]