Abstract: Privacy regulation has traditionally been the remit of consumer protection, and privacy harm is cast as a contractual harm arising from the interpersonal exchanges between data subjects and data collectors. This frames surveillance of people by companies as primarily a consumer harm. In this article, we argue that the modern economy of personal data is better understood as an extension of the financial system. The data economy intersects with capital markets in ways that may increase systemic and systematic financial risks. We contribute a new regulatory approach to privacy harms: as a source of risk correlated across households, firms and the economy as a whole. We consider adapting tools from macroprudential regulations designed to mitigate financial crises to the market for personal data. We identify both promises and pitfalls to viewing individual privacy through the lens of the financial system.
Keywords: privacy; data governance; financial regulation; big data; surveillance; data economy
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