ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
Maciej Sobolewski, Joanna Mazur and Michał Paliński
GDPR: A Step Towards a User-centric Internet?
Maciej Sobolewski, University of Warsaw, Poland;
and European Commission, Seville, Spain.
Joanna Mazur, University of Warsaw, Poland.
Michał Paliński, University of Warsaw, Poland.
Originated as a collaborative research project and de-
signed as a decentralised network of networks, the in-
ternet was founded on the principles of openness, trans-
parency, non-discrimination and user-centricity. The two
fundamental elements for user-centricity are freedom
of choice and ability to exercise control upon one’s own
Since these origins, this network of
networks has undergone substantial changes, casting
doubts on whether the fundamental principle of user-cen-
tricity is still valid today. Firstly, the rapidly growing role of
the internet as a commercial marketplace has shifted the
focus to consumption of content and away from end-user
service creation. Secondly, the rise and success of busi-
ness models based on multi-sided intermediation, utilisa-
tion of personal data and monetisation of network effects
has shifted the balance of control and power away from
end-users. Incidents of competitive misconduct by domi-
nant online platforms or abuse of personal data have led
1 Internet Society (ISOC): Preserving the User Centric Internet, Discus-
sion Paper, 2009.
End of previous Forum article