Thursday 23 May 2024
Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research in cooperation with German Privacy Platform (DE)


Public archives play an important role in our society by identifying, assessing and preserving documentary material of long-term value, ensuring accountability of government and other organisations. One of the most important restrictions on accessibility is privacy and data protection. As documents in public archives contain a wide range of information about individuals, data protection is one of the most important reasons why recent archive holdings are not accessible. Obviously, there is a conflict of objectives between the fundamental value and desire for transparency and accountability on the one hand and the fundamental right and legal obligations to protect personal data, on the other. There are still particular uncertainties regarding the practical implementation of the GDPR on the ground.  The aim of the panel is to explore the perspectives of different interest groups and to discuss how an appropriate balance of rights and interests can be realized.

  • What experience has been gained with practical measures taken to identify and process personal data in archive documents?
  • What should be the individual responsibilities of the researchers exploring archival documents? 
  • Have there been court cases for violations of data protection rights in archives and what lessons can be learnt from them?
  • What are the differences between paper-based, audiovisual and electronic documents in this regard and how can AI be used to identify and decide on the accessibility of personal data in archival documents? 


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