According to its mission statement, the annual conference “Computers, Privacy and Data Protection“ in Brussels aims to create a bridge between policy makers, academics, practitioners and activists, and aims to become Europe’s most important forum for the discussion of data protection and privacy issues.
The conference was held on the occasion of the annual Data Protection Day on January 28, celebrated in Europe to commemorate the signing of Convention 108 in 1981, and coopted in 2009 in the US as the annual “Data Privacy Day“, even though the US is not a signatory to convention 108.
The theme of the convention was: “European Data Protection: In Good Health?” and the first day of the three day conference was indeed entirely devoted to eHealth privacy issues.
About the panel on Bahavioural Targeting and Profiling, where technologists, privacy advocates and attorneys each presented their own take and solutions for this very pertinent privacy issue:
Privacy activist Alexander Hanff of PrivacyInternational proposed that, regardless of the claimed billions at stake for the ad industry, privacy is a human right and not for sale. He proposed straightforward opt-in for all.
Jeff Chester of The Center for Digital Democracy stated that in the US, leading brands have built a pervasive commercial surveillance society and that they are selling individuals to the highest bidder. Jeff conveyed how the ad industry is afraid of the EU data protection model, and instead is pushing towards a “make believe” regulation and self-regulation.