Logo CPDP2019
31/1/2019 2:30 PM
31/1/2019 5:00 PM
European Parliamentary Research Services
European Parliament, Library Reading Room Altiero Spinelli Building (ASP D 06 128)
Wiertzstraat 60, 1047 Brussels

Event Description

The advance of digital technologies, of artificial intelligence and of a data-driven society, where almost every daily activity relies on the flow and combination of data, brings many benefits for society and individuals, but at the same time raises unprecedented challenges for fundamental rights and freedoms, like privacy and non-discrimination, endangering, in some cases, essential democratic strongholds. Personal data are increasingly collected and processed –often automatically– for different purposes, especially on social media and search engines, where algorithms may be used to create profiles of individuals, to predict their behaviour so to personalize the users' experience on each platform, but also to filter and influence the content that they can see as well as their opinions and behaviour. The Facebook/CA scandal and the revelations about the misuse of users’ data, with the aim to manipulate people’s behaviour in political elections, revealed connections between unlawful data processing and disinformation/manipulation of data and have raised strong criticisms in Europe.

The lack of transparency in the use of data, in particular via social media, to influence users-citizens not only in their commercial behaviours but also in their social-political activities (public debates, elections, etc.) pose serious challenges to a democratic debate and free elections and undermine people’ trust.
With the aim to protect individual rights while fostering trust in a digital age, to allow people taking their own decisions on the use of their data and to avoid possible abuses by those who handle the data, new rules have been adopted with the GDPR, which is fully applicable since 2018. The revelations on misuses of data actually confirm how the underlying values of the GDPR standards are essential for democracy.

However, new online techniques and opaque practices, including micro-targeting, the use of algorithms and profiling to influence people’ way of thinking put a strain on the capability of the European legal framework to ensure an effective oversight on these techniques and on the misuse of data.

Speakers who confirmed their attendance are:

• Alessandro Mantelero, Professor of Private law at Politecnico di Torino and consultant for the Council of Europe (Guidelines on Artificial Intelligence and data protection)
• Elda Brogi, Scientific coordinator at the Centre for Media Pluralism at the European University Institute;
• Christian D'Cunha, Policy Assistant, European Data Protection Supervisor;
Michalina Zięba, Policy analyst, Secretariat-General, European Commission;
• Shara Monteleone, policy analyst, European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS)

Some of the issues that we would like totackle include:

• From algorithms and profiling to micro-targeting techniques and computational propaganda: how manipulation/disinformation relies on collection and misuse of personal data?
• To what extent GDPR’s tools can help in reducing these risks of misuses and what are its limitations?
• To what extent legal measures need to be integrated with others of different nature (social, ethical, cultural norms)?
• What are the EU responses so far?

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