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Big Data in law drives governance reform

Author  :  Ye Huijuan     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-02-14

At the end of 2016, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court released a report on the ways in which Big Data was utilized in law throughout the year. The report includes Big Data used in hot cases, legal transparency, team building and the construction of an intelligent court system. In the information age, the usefulness of Big Data in the legal arena is becoming apparent.

Big Data can be used to solve problems within China’s legal system as it continues the project of comprehensively building a country ruled by law. Against this backdrop, Big Data will promote the reform of modern governance.

At the core of Big Data usage in law is correlation analysis, which involves analyzing populations, who generate Big Data, in search of patterns and relationships.

Data can provide reference for implementing rules and regulations as well as offer support in policymaking. In practice, some local governments and the public security system are utilizing Big Data to supervise the market as well as to detect and predict criminal cases. Moreover, many big online service platforms and e-business providers also use Big Data to crack down on fake products and detect false trading. And these records can provide important evidence for solving criminal cases and deciding verdicts.

With the enhancement of legal transparency and digitization of other online legal information, legal Big Data is starting to accumulate. Nevertheless, research on the application of Big Data in the area is in its infancy, with insufficient secondary development and analysis. Also, there is a shortage of enterprises and institutions offering tailored services, such as data mining and interpretation.

The hallmark of the industrial age was division of labor, while in the Internet era, the key is integration. The development and application of Big Data in law requires the cooperation of people in areas like law, Big Data, machine learning and language identification. It also means breaking down the concrete and abstract barriers between departments and regions as well as the mentality of departmentalism.

One thing to note is that the development and utilization of Big Data in law should consider the security of personal information. The nature and core of Big Data is interpersonal relations and its source is actually copious amounts of personal information. While Big Data brings convenience and progress, it inevitably places personal information at risk of exposure.

Now, countries in the world are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of protecting personal information and respecting individual privacy. Therefore, we should properly handle the relationship between Big Data mining and personal information security and let Big Data in law become a useful tool for enhancing social governance.


Ye Huijuan is an associate research fellow from the Center for Rule of Law Strategy Studies at East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai.

Editor: Yu Hui

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