Just how omnipotent will GAFA become in terms of accessing and processing our personal data? The convenience of voluntary servitude comes at a price – the exposure of our habits, purchasing and health.

Since the Wikileaks revelations, the commodity of data has become a resource coveted and envied by governments and companies. A new ecosystem has sprung up in response to the unbridled race for this prized commodity pitting the ‘circles’ of citizen, government and corporate sovereignty against one other. Is anyone capable of imparting a message of individual freedom without hitting a wall of powerful multinationals?

At a time when the European Union is refining its data protection policy, the rules of a fledgling system of governance are being shaped every day by a new balance of power. The issue of personal data protection, a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, both in and outside of European territory, has refocused attention on the urgent need to define an international framework of sovereignties.

With the European Commission’s recognition of the Privacy Shield on 12 July 2016 and the Safe Harbour framework pledging equivalent protection of data outside the European area, a new system is emerging in a fierce and competitive environment reflecting the sudden yet necessary realisation that the age of the Internet with its innate freedoms has come to an end.