On September 11, 2015, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issued an opinion “to provide a framework for a wider and deeper discussion on how the EU can ensure the integrity of its values at the same time as it embraces the benefits of the new technologies”. Opinion 4/2015, “Towards a new digital ethics, Data, dignity and technology”.
According to the EDPS, “the fundamental rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data have become more important for the protection of human dignity than ever before”. Therefore, the EDPS suggests that “in today’s digital environment, adherence to the law is not enough; we have to consider the ethical dimension of data processing”.
The opinion highlights some major technology trends (among which big data, internet of things, cloud computing, and drones) which may involve an unacceptable processing of personal information or may interfere with the right to privacy. It then “outlines a four-tier ‘big data protection ecosystem’ to respond to the digital challenge”:
(1) Future-oriented regulation of data processing and respect for the rights to privacy and data protection;
(2) Accountable controllers who determine personal information processing;
(3) Privacy conscious engineering and design of data processing products and services.
(4) Empowered individuals.
For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal