#PrivacyCamp17: Controlling data, controlling machines

Accountability, transparency and profiling were the buzzwords of the fifth annual Privacy Camp. The camp, this year entitled “Controlling data, controlling machines: dangers and solutions”, brought together civil society, policy-makers and academia to discuss the problems for human rights in the digital environment. The event is organised every year before the Computers, Privacy & Data Protection (CPDP) conference, and it’s co-organised by European Digital Rights (EDRi), Privacy Salon, Université Saint-Louis (USL-B) and the interdisciplinary Research Group on Law Science Technology & Society of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB-LSTS).

Who controls your data? Who controls the machines? Who is to be held responsible for the security of our data, and how can civil society make sure the message gets through? These questions were at the very centre of the debates surrounding the pending adoption of important EU-wide legislation, such as the review of the e-Privacy Directive, the smart borders package, the draft Regulation on dual-use goods, and the latest filtering proposals in the draft copyright Directive.

The first panels of the morning were “Community Building Workshop: Societal Impacts of Big Data and the Role of Civil Society”, which discussed how civil society can engage in the policy debates on Big Data, and “Owning the Web Together: Peer Production and Sharing”, which pondered on whether it’s possible to create online platforms based on genuine practices of sharing, with different ownership models and fair working conditions, or if the commons-based decentralised digital platforms are a utopian dream.

The next panel “Instant Big Data Targeting: Programmatic Ad Tech & Beyond” explained to the participants the structure of programmatic advertising, and discussed how personal data is treated and for what purposes. Simultaneously, the panel “The Internet of Things, Security and Privacy” discussed the possible effects of the Internet of Things (IoT) to the future of surveillance, and the solutions to legislative approaches and security education.

The afternoon panel on “Surveillance Tech Export and Human Rights Law” shed light on the proposed overhaul of the EU’s export controls for so-called “dual-use items” that can be used to violate fundamental human rights such as the right to privacy and the protection of personal data. The panellists discussed how human rights law could be used to hold the companies and states accountable.

The Lightning Talks presented a number of interesting projects and point-of-views related to online privacy. For example, Alexander Czadilek and Christof Tschohl from EDRi observer Epicenter.works introduced their new Handbook for the Evaluation of Anti-Terrorism legislation (HEAT), and Katarzyna Szymielewicz from EDRi member Panoptykon presented some ideas on how a strong implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could be ensured in the EU Member States. EDRi presented the guide to Digital Defenders, a booklet to teach kids privacy that was published in October 2016 and proved to be a huge success.

The day of fruitful debates was wrapped up with a bit of fun. An interactive quiz tested the participants’ level of knowledge regarding surveillance. We came reassured that our community excels at mapping surveillance, definitely watches too much TV (but only educative contents, of course!), can separate fact from fiction, reads the news, and surely knows their classics of surveillance related literature.

Privacy camp 2017: Registrations now open

Registration for the Privacy Camp is now open! If you want to attend the event, please

send an email to registrations(at)edri.org

including your first and last name. If you want to register friends and colleagues, please also include their names.

Make sure to register as soon as possible as places are limited for this free event! A first draft of the programme is following soon.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Privacy Camp 2017: Call for submissions

Join us for the 5th annual Privacy Camp! Held every January just before the start of the CPDP conference, the camp brings together civil society, policy-makers and academia to discuss existing and looming problems for human rights in the digital environment. As every year, the event is co-organised by EDRi, Privacy Salon, USL-B and VUB-LSTS.

When: 24 January 2017, 9am – 5.30pm
Where: Université Saint-Louis, 119 rue du Marais, 1000 Brussels, Rooms 2200 and 2300


Who controls (your) data, who controls the machines? These questions are at the very center of the debates surrounding the pending adoption of important EU-wide legislation, such as the review of the ePrivacy Directive, the smart borders package, the draft Regulation on dual-use goods and the latest filtering proposals in the draft copyright Directive.

We invite you to propose a panel for one of these two tracks:

Track 01 controlling data
Topics: #metadata #onlinetracking #export #surveillance #accountability #UploadFilters

Track 02 controlling machines
Topics: #IoT #InternetOfThings #algorithms #wearables #sharingeconomy #AI

Some things to keep in mind when submitting your proposal:

  • indicate a clear objective for your session: what would be a good outcome for you?
  • indicate other speakers that could participate in your panel (and invite them)
  • make it as participative as possible, think about how to include the audience as much as possible
  • send us a max 500 word description of your session.

How to submit:
1. Send your proposal to Imge: imge.ozcan (at) vub.ac.be before 23 November 2016.
2. After the deadline, we will review your submission and let you know by 6 December 2016.
3. The draft programme is scheduled to be announced in the first week of January 2017.

Please note that it is possible that we suggest to merge proposals if they are very similar.

Registration is open!

Event date: 26 January 2016
Venue: Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, Boulevard du Jardin Botanique 43, 1000 Brussels (Rooms P60 and P61)

Registration for Privacy Camp 2016 is now open. For a preliminary version of our programme, click here. The event is free to attend but pre-registration is required as space is limited. Please RSVP to Imge.Ozcan@vub.ac.be no later than 22 January. Please note that priority will be given to members of NGOs and civil rights groups.


Save the Date: Privacy Camp on 26 January 2016 in Brussels, Belgium

We are pleased to announce the upcoming Privacy Camp, the pre-CPDP civil society meeting jointly organised by EDRi, Privacy Salon vzw, USL-B and VUB-LSTS. Our theme this year is: “The multiple ways of (de/self-) regulation: What is at stake for human rights?” Please save the date in your calendars and send us your logo if you wish to support the event.

Date: 26 January 2016, 9.00 – 17.30
Location:Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, Boulevard du Jardin Botanique 43, 1000 Brussels

EU policy-makers are frequently yielding to business pressure to reduce ‘burdensome’ regulation which are in place to protect the citizens. The last few years have seen an intensifying push in the EU to undermine regulations, with the TTIP negotiations and the blocking of Data Protection Reform being the most striking examples. The narratives of ‘economic growth’, ‘competitiveness’ and ‘innovation’ mostly fronted by big tech companies are offered as the justification for this trend towards forms of ‘deregulation’ and ‘self-regulation’. These rhetorics have been taken up and advanced to shape policy decisions and marginalise regulatory oversight. Whose interests are reflected in such discourses and in the initiatives of ‘smart regulation’, ‘cutting red tape’ and ‘openness’? What are the fallacies of reliance on self-regulatory regimes in the wake of sweeping surveillance programmes and the CJEU’s safe harbour ruling? The upcoming edition of Privacy Camp aims to unpack the current deregulatory agenda to analyse its claims, promises and discontents, and chart its main implications for civil and human rights.

Privacy Camp 2016 is kindly supported by the Open Society Foundations and the ARC project Why Regulate? led by the IES USL-B.

Privacy Camp is an annual civil society meeting held the day before the start of CPDP. The event brings together digital rights advocates, members of NGOs, civil rights groups as well as academics and policy-makers from all around Europe and beyond to discuss the most pressing issues facing human rights online.

Privacy Camp on 20 January 2015 in Brussels, Belgium

When? 20 January 2015, 9am-6pm
Location Université Saint-Louis, Rue du Marais 109, 1000 Brussels

Privacy Camp is a civil society warm-up event for CPDP, dedicated to privacy and data protection challenges and possibilities in Europe. The event aims to bring together digital rights advocates, members of NGOs and civil rights groups from all around Europe and beyond to discuss the problems currently facing human rights online and develop strategies to address the key challenges.

This year’s program will kick off with a roundtable discussion on Big Data and surveillance followed by debates and strategy workshops on data retention, EU PNR and TTIP negotiations in the wider context of transatlantic data flows. The event will end with a meeting between privacy advocates and surveillance studies scholars.

This event is aimed at members of NGOs and civil rights groups. Please note that non- NGO participation is by invitation only. For more information and registration please contact Imge Ozcan: Imge.Ozcan(at)vub.ac.be