Monday, 23 March 2015

Tommelein: Privacy Is Not A Black And White Tale

Privacy is not a black and white tale, but is always in relation to other rights and obligations, as has informed the Belgian State Secretary for privacy Bart Tommelein know. "There is no choice between whether or not privacy. Otherwise, the negotiations on the European regulation had long finished," he tells his own website. Tommelein argues that privacy is always in balance with other interests.

"How much of our privacy are we willing to sacrifice for our security? Consider the exchange of passenger data from flights. Badge Systems. CCTV." Cases which the Belgian State Secretary improve safety, but also new privacy questions entail, such as data storage, or anyone can be filmed and who gets access to these systems and data.

He calls find this difficult balance, pointing to the balance between protecting the privacy of the individual on the one hand and innovation on the other side. "A drone take pictures of a bike race, we find fantastic. But we find it a bit creepy when he flies above our own home."


One of the places where the balance should be found is the European privacy legislation, which dates from 1995 and according Tommelein is not up to date. There's already being talked about a new law, but the process is slow. However, the new privacy legislation will not be perfect warns the Belgian State Secretary. "Put ten people around a table and they each have a different definition of privacy." Nevertheless soon there should be a new privacy legislation he warns. "The world does not stop turning while we negotiate."

Tommelein closes his plea to the European legislation off by stating that even if the proper privacy balance is found, the highest will be temporary. "Privacy is never alone. You can not therefore 'fumble' privacy. You can at best balance between privacy and other interests. So that I do. Careful. Attentive. But without fear. Innovation is not something to be afraid of to be. The future is something to look forward to. "

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