Freedom AND Security – Killing the zero sum process was the title of this year’s data protection conference organised by the Europol Data Protection Experts Network (EDEN) and the Academy of European Law (ERA). Held at Europol headquarters on 22 and 23 November, the conference took a closer look at topics linking the work of law enforcement and security authorities, and the impact this has on fundamental rights.

In an era of globalized terrorism and ever increasing cybercrime, the use of state-of-the-art investigative techniques and certain forms of surveillance by law enforcement and security services is absolutely crucial to safeguard security. At the same time individuals rightfully attach increasing importance to their right to personal privacy – including in the cyberspace. As a consequence, operations by law enforcement and other security authorities are frequently questioned in terms of data protection compliance. This public debate often follows an “either/or logic” suggesting that we can never have it all: if we turn up freedom, we get less security, and if we turn up security, we get less freedom.

This scenario created the framework in which this year’s EDEN conference brought together 300 law enforcement officials, EDEN specialists, representatives of private industries, NGOs, academia and stakeholders interested in data protection matters in a law enforcement context.

The key topics of the conference covered:

the right to data protection and privacy;

risks and opportunity for citizens;

effects of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on law enforcement;

government hacking, data retention, and darknet investigations;

bridges between intelligence services and law enforcement agencies;

from law enforcement fiction to future – privacy in the year 2030.

Due to the high visibility of speakers from different sectors all over the world, the conference represented a great opportunity for stakeholders interested in data protection matters. By discussing the impact that the processing of data in an interconnected and borderless cyber-world has for both the fundamental rights of citizens and the world of law enforcement and security authorities, the conference aimed to overcome the perceived contradiction between freedom and security.

Members of the EVIDENCE2e-CODEX Consortium were also present at the event discussing latest developments in the field.

Source: Europol (Press Release)