SCALES: Institutional design to balance public interests and individual liberties in the use of big data


This project will research how we can balance the benefits of using big data for citizens, businesses and governments with the risks these entail when public and private databases are combined. The goal is to design a regulatory and institutional landscape with a system of checks and balances so that the interests of all parties are served maximally, while potential harms are minimised.
The research consists of two tracks:
(1) Combining databases from the ?physical infrastructure? (the smart grid), with government databases from the Dutch Police (postdoc researcher);
(2) Combining databases from the ?social infrastructure? (social media), with government databases from the Dutch Police (PhD student).

Central research questions:
(1) Which knowledge can public parties and private parties obtain from using data analytics when linking their databases?
(2) How can these parties use such knowledge to create (a) novel/improved services for citizens, and for (b) fraud detection and criminal investigation?
(3) How can the interests of citizens be aligned with those of the government and those of businesses in such a way that citizens benefit maximally and suffer minimal restrictions on their rights and freedoms?
(4) What regulatory and institutional landscape is required to ensure that an optimal balance between citizens? interests and freedoms and the interests of businesses and governments is guaranteed?

Both tracks use the following methodologies:
(1) Empirical research: qualitative studies and technical research; and
(2) Theoretical/legal/conceptual research: desk research, conceptual analysis and institutional design.


Hoofdstuk in boek

  • D. C. Mehos, F Dechesne, I van der Poel, L Asveld, W Pieters(2017): Experimentation beyond the laboratory: new perspectives on technology in society. pp. 122 - 139
  • B.H.M. Custers, A Müller, B. Schermer, W Pieters, F Dechesne, S. van der Hof, P Schaber(2018): The Ethics of Consent. pp. 247 - 258 , London

Wetenschappelijk artikel

Professionele publicatie

  • G.H. Evers(2016): In de schaduw van de rechtsstaat: profilering en nudging door de overheid
  • G.H. Evers(2016): Disclosing Medical Data: A Foreseeable Application of the Law? pp. 432 - 436





Prof. dr. B. van den Berg

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Centre for Law in the Information Society


Dr. F. Dechesne, Dr. F. Dechesne, G.H. Evers MA, G.H. Evers MA, A. Zardiashvili LLM


01/11/2015 tot 30/04/2020