Athina Sachoulidou: OK Google: is (s)he guilty?

OK Google: is (s)he guilty?

Athina Sachoulidou


Big data–a term at the centre of the discourse on law and new technologies–appears to entail mechanisms that can impact on crime control and investigation as well as on the operation of criminal justice. Big data promises rationalisation and operational efficiency of law enforcement agencies, on the one hand, speed, accuracy, predictability and even increased fairness before criminal courts, on the other hand. At the same time, it triggers, however, concerns that the use of big-data-driven tools and technologies could undermine the fundamental rights of (pre-)suspects and defendants and their criminal procedural rights in particular, such as the right to be presumed innocent–by establishing ‘insurmountable’ standards of proof or even paving the way for coercive measures–not necessarily linked to specific criminal proceedings–on the basis of likelihoods. This article examines how big data, policing and criminal justice intersect and the impact of the outcome of this combination on criminal procedural rights. In doing so, it progressively turns the spotlight on the presumption of innocence and argues that a broader framing of fundamental rights is required in order to address the challenges arising out of big-data-driven law enforcement and criminal justice.


Sachoulidou, Athina. OK Google: is (s)he guilty? Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 2022 [CS 2.0, 88th, 135/1203 Cultural Studies] [CS 2023 2.6], 30(2), pp. 284–296.