Enabling the new economic actor: data protection, the digital economy, and the Databox

Andy Crabtree, Tom Lodge, James Colley, Chris Greenhalgh, Richard Mortier, Hamed Haddadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper offers a sociological perspective on data protection regulation and its relevance to design. From this perspective, proposed regulation in Europe and the USA seeks to create a new economic actor—the consumer as personal data trader—through new legal frameworks that shift the locus of agency and control in data processing towards the individual consumer or “data subject”. The sociological perspective on proposed data regulation recognises the reflexive relationship between law and the social order, and the commensurate needs to balance the demand for compliance with the design of computational tools that enable this new economic actor. We present the Databox model as a means of providing data protection and allowing the individual to exploit personal data to become an active player in the emerging data economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Databox
  • Digital economy
  • Personal data regulation
  • Privacy
  • Sociology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research

Cite this

Crabtree, A., Lodge, T., Colley, J., Greenhalgh, C., Mortier, R., & Haddadi, H. (Accepted/In press). Enabling the new economic actor: data protection, the digital economy, and the Databox. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-016-0939-3