The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) regularly publishes TechDispatch reports that aim to explain emerging developments in technology. The TechDispatch reports are part of the wider EDPS activities on technology monitoring

Each TechDispatch provides factual descriptions of a new technology, preliminarily assesses possible impacts on privacy and the protection of personal data, as we understand them now, and provides links to further recommended reading. 

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TechDispatch #1/2022 - Federated Social Media Platforms

The Fediverse consists of many independent, interoperable social media platforms that allow their users to interact with each other across those platforms. In the absence of vendor lock-in, users can choose a platform with terms and data location matching their preferences.

Langues disponibles: anglais

TechDispatch #2/2021 - Card-based Payments

In the last years, citizens have been using many new technologies that facilitate payments; such increase has also accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers and businesses are looking for a more simple, personalised, and economically feasible way of conducting their day-to-day transactions. Cash payments are being replaced by cashless payments via an ever-growing landscape of emerging solutions: beyond debit cards or credit cards, contactless payments using Near Field Communication (NFC) or Quick Response (QR) technologies and cardless payments via smartphone apps are just a few examples of new card-based payment methods.


TechDispatch #1/2021 - Facial Emotion Recognition

Facial Emotion Recognition (FER) is the technology that analyses facial expressions from both static images and videos in order to reveal information on one’s emotional state. The complexity of facial expressions, the potential use of the technology in any context, and the involvement of new technologies such as artificial intelligence raise significant privacy risks.

Langues disponibles: anglais

TechDispatch #3/2020 - Personal Information Management Systems

Personal Information Management Systems (PIMS) are new products and services that help individuals to have more control over their personal data. PIMS enable individuals themselves to manage and control their online identity.

The PIMS concept offers a new approach in which individuals are the “holders” of their own personal information. PIMS allow individuals to manage their personal data in secure, local or online storage systems and share them when and with whom they choose. Individuals would be able to decide what services can use their data, and what third parties can share them. This allows for a human centric approach to personal data and to new business models, protecting against unlawful tracking and profiling techniques that aim at circumventing key data protection principles.

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Langues disponibles: anglais

TechDispatch #2/2020: Quantum Computing and Cryptography

Quantum computers can be highly beneficial to scientific developments due to the new, speedy way of performing computing. Once available, they however could break currently used cryptography and undermine the protection of (personal) data.

The physical laws of quantum mechanics allow for an alternative method to how today’s computers process information. Whereas traditional computers use bits (0 or 1) as a building block, quantum computers employ quantum bits, or qubits, that can be at the same moment a combination of |0⟩ and |1⟩.

The possible spectrum of values one qubit can adopt is best depicted by the surface of the Bloch sphere in Figure 1. While bits allow for two discrete values, qubits can store a point in a two-dimensional continuum, a surface of a sphere. Quantum computing can take advantage of those more powerful qubits and carry out operations not only for a determined value |0⟩ or |1⟩, but also for all possible superpositions at the same time. Consequently, quantum computing attains an efficiency advantage over binary computing for selected tasks. Some tasks would be rendered only feasible due to this efficiency boost, if the appropriate quantum computer hardware were available.

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Langues disponibles: anglais