Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor (“EDPS”), has announced plans to set up a new European Ethics Advisory Board to address the technological challenges of the 21st century in a world where there are now more connected devices on the planet than people. He stated, “in today’s digital environment, adherence to the law is not enough; we have to consider the ethical dimension of data processing”.
The Opinion paper, published by the EDPS 11 September 2015, highlights the difficulties in protecting the dignity of the human person, including the rights to privacy and protection of personal data, against a digital landscape in which there are now more connected devices on the planet than people. He has called for a broader discussion on how to “ensure the integrity of [European] values while embracing the benefits of new technologies”. While the EDPS considers that data protection principles have proved capable of safeguarding individuals and their privacy from the risks of irresponsible data processing, he believes that today’s trends “may require a completely fresh approach”, and has urged those responsible internationally to promote an “ethical dimension in future technologies”.
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