Big Data without Big Brothers: The Potential of Gentle Rule Enforcement

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The authors argue that a wise use of big data technology can facilitate the enforcement of laws and regulations in two ways: it can reduce the necessity of severe and costly punishments, and can reduce invasion of privacy. This suggestion rests on two key observations. First, examining basic decision research reveals that experience leads people to underweight rare events and select the options that lead to the best payoffs in most cases. Second, most consequential violations start with less important violations that, if detected, can be stopped without collecting personal data. In other words, the authors propose focusing on the development of gentle rule enforcement technology that generalizes the success behind the seat-belt alarm system.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnowledge and Space
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NameKnowledge and Space
ISSN (Print)1877-9220
ISSN (Electronic)2543-0580


  • Big Brother
  • Big data
  • Decision research
  • Gentle rule enforcement
  • Law enforcement
  • Technology
  • Thought experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)


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