Data-driven technologies are not neutral. A decision to collect, analyse and process specific kind of information is structured and motivated by social, economic and political factors. Those data operations may not only violate the right to privacy but also lead to discrimination and oppression of socially marginalised communities. Discriminatory data processes and algorithms are a massive challenge for the modern human rights movement that requires non-standard solutions. The report “Between Anti-discrimination and Data” – tries to shed light on this problem from the perspective of European civil society organisations.
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In early December 2018 the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) will take place in Katowice, Poland. The act to regulate the organisation of the event restricts civil liberties to an extent that has already become familiar to Polish citizens.
Hundreds of e-mails informing about changes to companies’ privacy policies were sent out by companies across the EU in the name of the GDPR. Both users and companies are confused with the variety of – sometimes contradictory – explanations and interpretations. The #TimeToDisagree campaign launched today by Panoptykon together with European Digital Rights and Bits of Freedom reminds everyone that the GDPR is – above all – a new tool to protect our rights.
From May 25th the new General Data Protection Regulation will come fully into force. From Panoptykon’s point of view it is a change for the better. The GDPR is the outcome of the legislative process which we were engaged in from the very beginning (already when the European Commission announced the public consultation in October 2010!). Thanks to the new regulation it will be easier for us to fight against bad practices of companies that until now exploited our personal data and calculated profit without even noticing our rights.
With the recent revelations of the invasion of users' privacy and misuse of personal data from the likes of companies such as Facebook, it is inevitable that we, the consumers, are worried. And since these activities seem to be a trend lately, we absolutely should be. A majority of people use Facebook and similar social media services, and it doesn't seem the companies will change their way any time soon. Worrying on its own does not solve the problem however, so what can users do to protect themselves online?
We are right to be worried about the polarization of public debate, the rise of populism and digital propaganda. It also goes without saying that social media have a growing impact on our politics and society. However, one should be cautious not to confuse observations with explanations.
Does Facebook identify and manipulate your feelings? Is it able to recognize your personality type, habits, interests, political views, level of income? Does it use all the information in order to reach you with personalized ads or sponsored content? You bet!
Technology has changed and keeps dramatically changing our everyday life by transforming the human species to advanced networked societies. To celebrate this digital revolution, 17 May is dedicated to the “World Telecommunication and Information Society Day” (WTISD-17).
by Luigi LIMONE (*)
Panoptykon Foundation co-signed the open letter to the European Commision, regarding the situation in Poland, in which we express our concern with the legislative changes in Poland, that began with undermining with the legitimacy of the Constitutional Tribunal, but went much further, affecting the full scope of fundamental rights of Polish citizens. Amnesty International, FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), Human Rights Watch, Open Society European Policy Institute, Reporters without Borders and other Polish and international NGOs were among the signees of the letters.