Privacy is...

  1. Privacy is a multifaceted concept. Privacy is not only respect for confidentiality, although it implies it. Privacy is not only the right to be left alone, although it includes it. Privacy is not only the right to control one’s own life, although it entails it. Nor is privacy only data protection, although it also concerns data protection. Privacy is all these things together, and more, because privacy is the word we use to describe an important aspect of one of the main, vital and constitutive polarities that shape human beings, that is, the tension between individuals and the community. How do new technologies impact on this complex and rich concept? What are the privacy issues arising from different emerging technologies? Multidisciplinary analysis is needed in order to appreciate the various philosophical, political, legal, ethical and social meanings of the word “privacy” in the contemporary technological world.
  2. Privacy is a moving target. It is evolving over time. People define it differently and value it differently. Moreover, privacy often is balanced against other values, such as society’s safety and security. There is little empirical data on citizens' perception of privacy aspects, especially how it relates to actual behaviour. Empirical research in determining how people value privacy, however they define it, is then needed in order to understand how concrete citizens understand the right to privacy and its value within the whole context of other fundamental rights.
  3. Privacy is a salient topic in technology policy-making. There is a need for a new social dialogue on privacy rights that includes issues such as the new borders of the private domain, a new business ethics and a dialogue on the balance between civil and government rights. This is probably something governments can initiate and moderate. From the privacy problems posed by new technologies, it is necessary to produce a new taxonomy of privacy problems that could help policy-makers and decision-takers to better balance privacy against countervailing values, rights, obligations and interests.


Conference Book of abstracts available
BECOME INVOLVED: The program of the PRESCIENT conference is now available!
SAVE THE DATE: The PRESCIENT project will hold an international conference on "Privacy and Emerging Sciences and Technologies" on 27 & 28 November 2012 at Fraunhofer Forum in Berlin
30-11-2011: Book Launch: Towards Responsible Research and Innovation in the ICT and Security Technologies Fields.
Download Report
01-06-2011: Workshop on "Privacy issues arising from next generation whole genome sequencing" (01 June 2011) in Brussels
In co-operation with the STOA Project "Making Perfect Life"