Privacy Policy Forum - September 3-5, 2008

International Association of IT lawyers and Computer Law and Security Report (Elsevier)

Leading figures in the European privacy debate to come together away from Brussels

There have been many discussions about the trade-offs between privacy and national security, intellectual property rights and consumer protection. The assumption has always been in favour of securing the safety of society as a whole, which has undermined a more expansive debate. Often privacy has been sacrificed in favour of political interests and as a result, the victory in favour of the security interests is achieved.

However, privacy concerns go deeper and relate also to the somewhat narrow perceptions on privacy held by the public at large. Judicial handling of privacy cases has further complicated the problems, with the court often taking the government’s side when the national security interest is asserted.

Many important security dimensions, such as data sharing, require more scrutiny, as the risks of abuse is  significantly greater than might currently be acknowledged by public opinion, who wants to put their faith in benign government. The range of problems associated with the ever increasing power of surveillance technology in daily life has undermined the balancing process and perhaps skewed the results in favour of security above abstention. Often, the liberty interests are described in terms of individual rights which often find themselves giving way to the security interests of the State. The former is expected to defer to the Government’s perceived safety needs for society as a whole as depicted by security concerns.  Privacy interest is diluted by narrow perceptions as to the risks of such activities by the general public who often fail to reflect on the potential privacy problems that arise.

To discuss these matters further the International Association of IT Lawyers and the international journal - The Computer Law & Security Report (Elsevier) - as sponsor will  hold a ground breaking Special Policy Forum on September 5, 2008 in Prague at the 3rd International Conference on Legal, Security and Privacy Issues in IT. This will bring to the table the various stakeholders concerned with this agenda to discuss the impacts of privacy policies, their repercussions for civil liberties, and the need to curtail Orwellian tendencies simply because the technologies now exist to bring that fictional society into reality. What is needed now is transparency so that, for example, we can observe for ourselves how corporate entities protect and treat personal data. The forum will also discuss how the public sector at large is responding to the demands for more open government at a time when it is seeking and deploying ever more intrusive techniques in its battle for national security.

The panel discussion will focus upon some of the following issues:

-   The new Swedish anti-terrorist “echelon” law and its implications
-   The proposed e-privacy directive on electronic communications – has it gone too
     far?
-   Public sector information security in the exploitation of our personal data.
-   The demand for increased public sector regulatory powers for national Information
      Commissioners?
-    The extent of surveillance of public spaces and the use by government of our
electronic traces

  1. How post code data lifted by identity theft fraudsters could be knitted together with social network data such as facebook and myspace to steal identities.
  2. The adequacy of security guarantees offered to online banking customers i.e. do they stand up to scrutiny?
  3. How to survive in an age of transparent information
  4. Human rights and corporate governance

More to follow