Alan Mitchell of Buyer Centric Commerce Forum poses an interesting question in a letter published in today's FT about who, if anyone, owns personal data collected online.
The short answer (in the EU) is the website owner if it meets the qualifying conditions for protection under the little known (or loved) database right. Click here to read an article of mine about this right, unique to the EU, which protects investment in database production. For the 'legal eagles' amongst my readers, click here to see how and why this right has been cut down by the European Court of Justice. Still, for database producers - which includes website owners - but some right than none at al.
Now an interesting question is whether we, as content providers in the world of user generated content, should have a form of intellectual property right in our own information!