Press releases & Publications
Choose Humanity: Putting Dignity back into Digital, speech by Giovanni Buttarelli
Speech by Giovanni Buttarelli at the Public Session of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissionners 2018, Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life, Brussels, Belgium (check against delivery)
Tim Cook - Remarks before the 2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners
Speech by Tim Cook, Apple CEO, at the Public Session of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissionners 2018, Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life, Brussels, Belgium (check against delivery)
The European Data Protection Supervisor presents: The cartoon introduction to digital ethics
The European Data Protection Supervisor presents: The cartoon introduction to digital ethics. This EDPS comic book provides a visual insight into the concept of digital ethics and is available to read in both web and mobile versions.
Wednesday 24 October 2018
European Parliament (Room PHS3C050 - opposite the European Parliament Hemicycle)
The European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, would like to invite you to a press conference during the 2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) in Brussels.
In addition to Giovanni Buttarelli, key speakers will be present at the press conference:
- Anita Allen, Professor of Law and of Philosophy;
- Pascale Fung, Professor at the Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology;
- Tristan Harris, Co-founder of the Centre for Humane Technology; and
- Elizabeth Denham, UK Information Commissioner.
The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.
Resolutions and Declaration from the 2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners
Press Release from the Closed Session of the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners
Apple CEO Tim Cook joins stellar line-up for 2018 International Conference
The press release is available here.
September edition of the EDPS Newsletter
The September edition of the EDPS Newsletter covers all you need to know before you arrive in Brussels this October at the International conference. Read it here.
Public Consultation on Digital Ethics
Read the result of the consultation.
Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life
Cocktail Reception for the Ambassadors of the Permanent Representations to the EU
Giovanni Buttarelli with Ambassadors and colleagues, Belvue Museum, Brussels
Ethics Advisory Group Report 2018
As part of the EDPS 2015-2019 strategy, the Ethics Advisory Group is set up with the mandate to explore the relationships between human rights, technology, markets and business models in the 21st century.
The EAG has now published its Report 2018.
THINKING GLOBAL, ACTING LOCAL: exploring common values that underpin privacy
On 25 September 2017, in the margins of the 39th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Hong Kong, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Privacy, Digital Asia Hub and the European Data Protection Supervisor hosted a meeting with a difference.
Our aim with this meeting was to start a conversation with people from around the world about the values that they think underpin privacy in their countries to see what the similarities and differences are.
2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners to focus on Digital Ethics
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Giovanni Buttarelli, and the Chairman of the Commission for Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Bulgaria (CPDP), Ventislav Karadjov, would like to extend their warmest congratulations to the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data in Hong Kong, who hosted this year’s thought provoking edition of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC).
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: “One of our biggest challenges as data protection and privacy regulators today is how to respond to the way in which the digital arena is changing our mission in relation to data protection and privacy. The 2018 International Conference will address this challenge by asking whether an ethical approach is needed to regulate the digital world and, if so, how this approach might be developed and implemented. This is a pivotal moment and we must act to ensure that technology is designed and developed to serve humankind and not the other way around.”
Companies and governments are beginning to take advantage of technological developments related to the internet of things, big data, robotics and artificial intelligence. Though these developments can bring many benefits for individuals and society, these benefits depend on ensuring that our values, based on a common respect for the individual and human dignity, remain a core component of innovation. The 2018 International Conference will aim to address these issues by facilitating an open and transparent conversation at global level, and across many different disciplines, on Digital Ethics.
Ventislav Karadjov, Chairman of the CPDP, said: “The International Conference brings together representatives from more than one hundred privacy and data protection authorities around the world. In this era of unprecedented change, where the political and social importance of privacy and data protection in the international arena are higher than they have ever been, it will provide the ideal forum to kick-start the movement towards ensuring respect and dignity for the individual in the digital environment.”
Inspired by the theme of this year’s conference in Hong Kong, which focused on connecting the West with the East, the UN special rapporteur on Privacy, the Digital Asia Hub and the EDPS jointly hosted a side event at the conference, focused on exploring what privacy means in different countries and cultures. Aimed at data protection and privacy authorities and regulators, the event provided an opportunity for an open and interactive exchange of ideas, which proved both thought provoking and revealing. The 2018 International Conference will look to take this debate further.
The EDPS and the CPDP look forward to welcoming a wide spectrum of groups and individuals to the International Conference in 2018 to explore whether and how ethics can be asserted in our digital reality. More information on Digital Ethics and the 2018 International Conference, watch the conference video.
Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life
40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners
Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life
In March this year, my respected colleague Ventislav Karadjov, Chairman of the Commission for Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Bulgaria (CPDP) and I announced that we will jointly be hosting the 40th annual International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in October 2018.
The honour and responsibility to deliver this well-established, high-level meeting in 2018 - the first time in the conference’s almost 40 year history that an EU institution has been selected to host it - is a priority for both of our institutions. Indeed, our preparations are underway so that we can deliver a world-class conference.
All regions of the world and all areas of our societies are impacted by digitisation from leisure to learning, from healthcare to governance, from finance to farming.
In light of the global nature of this phenomenon, we will be Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life to explore broadly how data and those controlling that data are influencing our values.
Data protection and privacy authorities are first-hand witnesses of this societal change. With the 2018 conference, we intend to examine the ethical principles that can help sustain digital fairness: What is respect in the digital age? Is our autonomy eroded online? How can we preserve equality and human dignity in this millennium?
We want to raise as much awareness about this important forum and the discussions that will take place there in 2018 as we can; we want to highlight how technology has implications for our fundamental rights - particularly for our privacy and the protection of our personal data.
With this in mind, the EDPS and the CPDP are launching a competition to design a logo for the 2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. While the conference is an important event for policy makers, civil society groups, academics, and industry, we also want to reach out to other groups who do not traditionally join in such discussions.
We believe this contest can help to generate interest among an important group of technology users. We’d appreciate it if you would spread the word.
Data Driven Life – EDPS workshop on Ethics
On 18 May 2017, the EDPS is hosting a workshop on Data Driven Life (digital ethics) in Brussels.
With the support of the Ethics Advisory Group, the workshop will explore the positive and negative consequences of data-driven changes on society and on individuals to pursue their own life choices.
Data Driven Life will be about people rather than technology - citizens, users, consumers and communities - with a view to understanding how the use of data is propelling changes in society. With discussions ranging from health and scientific research, banking and insurance, humanitarian intelligence, citizenship to smart cities, the workshop targets a specific audience of academics and practitioners from the scientific and research fields.
This is the second workshop in the series organised by the EDPS advancing the global debate on the ethical dimension of the digital revolution. With the establishment of the Ethics Advisory Group and a well-received first workshop on the relationship between data protection and digital ethics, the debate was launched in 2016.
In October 2018, the EDPS and the Commission for Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Bulgaria will jointly host the 2018 International conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC). With digital ethics as the core theme of the conference, the conference will also see the culmination of the work of the Ethics Advisory Group.
We look forward to welcoming experts from all disciplines to the Data Driven Life workshop. Priority will be given to participants from the research community, both hard and soft sciences.
Press Statement - 2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners to be hosted in Brussels
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Giovanni Buttarelli and the Chairman of the Commission for Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Bulgaria, Ventsislav Karadjov thank the Members, the Chair and the Executive Committee of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) for their confidence in them to jointly host the prestigious 40th annual conference in October 2018.
The conference will be an important step in the recently launched international debate on the ethical dimension of data protection in the digital era.
Up to one thousand national regulators, government representatives, NGOs and experts will come to Brussels to attend the conference in a year when the EU General Data Protection Regulation comes into force. Accompanying conference events will also take place in Bulgaria.
It is the first time that the conference will be organised by an EU institution together with a national supervisory authority. The 2018 conference is a unique opportunity for the EDPS, as the independent supervisory authority for the EU institutions, to highlight the leading role that the European Union has played over the years in data protection, privacy and freedom of information throughout the world.
The Commission for Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Bulgaria is currently vice-chair of the Article 29 Working Party, the EU Advisory Body on Data Protection and Privacy. The 2018 international conference will be a timely follow-up to the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU which also takes place in 2018.
Preparations for the 2018 conference will now begin. More details on this and the activities of the Ethics Advisory Group will follow in due course.
An ethical approach to fundamental rights
If you believe the words sometimes attributed to Gandhi, law is codified ethics. But effective laws and standards of ethics are guidelines accepted by members of a society, and these require a social consensus. I believe that technology is changing or at the very least influencing our ethics and it’s a phenomenon we need to urgently address.
On 31 May this year, I wrote about the first EDPS-Ethics Advisory Group (EAG) workshop that was taking place that day as part of a broader discussion we were launching, both in the EU and globally, on the digital environment and its ethical implications.
I am delighted at the workshop’s success and the feedback we received on it. I know that the work of the Group will yield tangible results in due course.
For me the workshop was an occasion to listen, take note of a variety of views and consider the relation between ethical reflections and the work of the EDPS. It was also an occasion for experts from the wider data protection community to become more familiar with the flagship project of my institution’s third mandate.
The workshop highlighted that while the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a landmark in human rights law, its adoption is even more reason for us - data protection authorities such as the EDPS - to think about the effects of data protection in practice and ask the difficult questions that need to be considered.
The GDPR emphasises the need for an ethical reflection on the digital environment and fundamental rights: the GDPR reinforces the need for organisations to be accountable; what if we consider that accountability implies a responsibility to take ethical considerations into account as part of an organisation’s corporate social responsibility?
As much as the GDPR is designed to grapple with the realities of global, ubiquitous data in the internet era, laws generally address societal needs after innovations have been widely adopted.
While we must welcome innovation and the benefits it brings us, we must also remain committed to sustainable development, taking into account issues of inequality, human dignity and inclusiveness.
Emerging technologies inevitably have wide implications not only for security and ethics but for our definition of human dignity and the equality of individuals.
It’s because of this that the EAG was launched as part of the EDPS’ broader initiative to consider the ethical impact of the digital era since it challenges not only existing data protection principles but our values and mores as a society.
At the very least, ethics can help to keep the concrete effects of the GDPR robust. But more effective would be for individuals, organisations and society at large to take a broader approach to ensure that technology does not dictate our values.
I believe we must collectively analyse how we implement data protection principles ethically and supplement them where necessary. In our digital world, data protection cannot be the sole responsibility of data protection authorities.
As part of their mandate to explore how to ensure the integrity of our values while embracing the benefits of new technologies, the EAG met in October to discuss how ethics can contribute to a data protection regime confronted by a digital world.
The debate raised many interesting questions.
Is compliance with the GDPR, or indeed any law supporting data protection or privacy, only about avoiding harm or fault?
Does compliance offer protection to the individuals the law is designed to protect or does it simply mitigate risks for organisations? The weighing up of harm and risk also involves an ethical assessment.
The Group’s discussions emphasised the importance of complying with the GDPR but also the importance of building upon that compliance and the need to consider what goes beyond it:
- Effective enforcement is necessary to ensure the proper application of data protection principles. What if companies are compliant with data protection rules but are not ethical?
- The main actors in the online environment have the power to monitor, predict and influence individuals and private lives. They also contribute to designing our public space and society. Given the breadth and width of their reach, should they be accountable on a larger scale?
- Due to their different perspectives, the dialogue between lawyers and engineers is often lost in translation. But is this gap between law and innovation really a viable excuse from big companies? There is a need to bridge this gap. Perhaps ethics could help to bridge it.
The balance of power between individuals and big business is tipped in favour of internet giants and to hold fast to our values requires more energy and commitment today than it did before the onset of the digital age.
It is high time that technology developers and data processing actors were ethically motivated. I am confident that the EAG will contribute well-founded arguments to help us to define this motivation.
In light of this, the Group is working to identify the ethical responsibilities of online actors. The greatest challenge is to encourage long term, ethical analysis and prospective thinking towards technological innovation - a holistic approach, if you will, to the digital project.
I anticipate that the first interim report of the EAG to be published next year will be a fascinating read.
The report and videos of the first workshop on 31 May 2016 are available here.
A second EDPS-EAG workshop with experts from the scientific research community is in the planning for spring 2017.