European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance (EJLC)

Article on « Datgasphere », Data Flows beyond Control: Challenges for Law and Governance »

in coll. with S.Grumbach, V. Zeno-Zencovich

In progress


The flows of people, goods and capital, which have considerably increased in recent history, are leading to crisis (e.g., migrants, tax evasion, food safety), which reveal the failure to control them. Much less visible, and not yet included in economic measurements, data flows have increased exponentially in the last two decades, with the digitization of social and economic activities. A new space is emerging, mostly supported by digital platforms, which provide essential services reaching half of the world population directly. Their control over data flows raises new challenges to governance, and increasingly conflicts with public administration.

In this paper, we consider the need and the difficulty to regulate this emerging space and the different approaches followed on both sides of the Atlantic. We distinguish between three situations. We first consider data at rest, which is from the point of view of the location where data are physically stored. We then consider data in motion, and the issues related to their combination. Finally, we investigate data in control, that is data as vectors of command of legal or illegal activities over territories, with impacts on economy, society as well as security, and raise governance challenges.