[Re:publica2013] Personal Data: Nothing to hide? – Katarzyna Szymielewicz and Jérémie Zimmermann

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Are we building the digital environment enhancing our life, or are we guinea pigs of those who control and trade our data?

From major battles won in 2012 against ACTA, SOPA and PIPA, we have a collective responsibility to project ourselves into advocating for protecting our freedoms online. Copyright, Net neutrality, data protection are among the key issues that will determine if our future societies will be more open and based on cooperation and sharing or knowledge, or will turn into authoritarian regimes based on control of our actions and communications.

Social media and all kinds of companies collect a lot of data about us. Some of it is essential to deliver relevant services or is given away with informed consent to receive better service. One may even think that we don’t share anything important or valuable, while we do get convenient and innovative services in return. After all, we have nothing to hide, do we? However, more and more often our data becomes a commodity that can be used not only to make things easier but also to control our lives and profit from us. What about price discrimination, profiling based on our ethnic origin, sexual orientation or age, refusal of certain benefits or services because of the “wrong profile”?

The new “Data Protection” regulation that is currently being discussed in the European Parliament may answer some of these questions…

we all have a role to play in the rewriting of Privacy, whether we take a technological approach, through the use of decentralized services and encryption, or an activist/legislative approach. Multitude is our strength!

Katarzyna Szymielewicz of Panoptykon and Jérémie Zimmermann