Technological advancement, most centrally big data processing and the interconnectedness of digital devices, allow for the collection and usage of personal data in increasingly complex and opaque ways, thus posing significant threats to privacy and data protection.
Against this background, the EDPS has been calling for a broad understanding of privacy and data protection as core values central to protecting human dignity, autonomy and the democratic functioning of our societies.
How is digitalisation changing people and society? Are digital platforms affecting the way we think, develop our opinions and interact with others? What role do governments play in shaping digital governance? What are the incentives and criteria of tech companies in developing new digital technologies? Who benefits from them and who does not?
Our ethics initiative is a multifaceted five-year programme, consisting of a series of projects that aim at exploring new ethical questions arising in this context.
The initiative is devised as a call upon the European and global community to reflect on rights and values in data-driven life and aims to encourage a proactive and forward-looking engagement with the issue. This includes stimulating a public debate on how digital ethics can serve to strengthen core data protection principles beyond legal compliance.
Through horizontal mainstreaming of ethics, the EDPS also integrates ethical insights into its day-to-day work as an independent regulator and policy advisor.
“Ethics comes before, during and after the law”
Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection Supervisor
#DebatingEthics Conversation 1: The relationship between ethics and the law
#DebatingEthics Conversation 2: Digitalisation and the future of work
#DebatingEthics Conversation 3: The environmental impact of digitalisation
To follow all episodes, you can also download the podcast feed.
We closed the public session of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in October 2018 with a promise to continue the discussion on digital ethics. With the launch of our new #DebatingEthics Conversations, a series of six interactive webinars that will then also be released as podcasts, we aim to provide an open platform for this urgent debate.
Each webinar will revolve around a specific theme and bring together different perspectives. Our provisional programme is as follows:
Closing remarks by Giovanni Buttarelli at CPDP 2019 in Brussels, Belgium
The official report of the 40th edition of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners: Debating Ethics – Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life
On 15th January 2019, EDPS Giovanni Buttarelli published an article in Our World's Leadership Vision section, alongside 99 other leading minds.
Read Mr. Buttarelli's piece, Humanity's Finest Work of Art, exploring human dignity in the digital era, here.
On 15 June 2018, the EDPS launched a public consultation on digital ethics. The consultation took place as part of the EDPS Ethics Initiative and was open until 15 July 2018. A summary of the outcomes has now been published.
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.
Report of the workshop
Address given by Giovanni Buttarelli at the event hosted by Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and the MIT Internet Policy Initiative and the MIT Media Lab
European Data Protection Supervisor decision establishing an external advisory group on the ethical dimensions of data protection (‘the Ethics Advisory Group’) OJ C 33, 28.1.2016