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