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Privacy: Do we still want to be let alone?

Privacy has been a core value in societies for 150 years now. The right to be let alone by governments, strangers and companies has been protected by laws and social control. But in a digitalizing world, the right to privacy requires different forms of protection. We share a lot of our data online, we tick the ‘accept terms and conditions’ box and we accept cookies in exchange for good access to websites. But what are we actually sharing? And what is our data used for? In March, many people were in shock because of a revelation about how our personal data can be misused. Facebook was brought into disrepute because they had been aware of the fact that Cambridge Analytica used private and personal information of thousands of Americans for a targeted campaign of Donald Trump. This is a clear violation of the use of personal data, but apart from these violations, companies use our personal data for various ends. The GDPR law, going into effect on the 25th of May, will limit companies in the extent to which they can use personal data.

During this interview we will discuss how much of our personal data can actually be extracted from the internet. What is it used for? And how does the GDPR impact that? But another interesting question is how we feel about the use of data by companies. Research has shown that over 90% over e-commerce customers don’t trust companies to keep their data secure, yet they still use those websites. Why is there such a discrepancy between our distrust and our behavior?

Privacy is clearly seen as an important attribute to have in our society, since we hold onto it so strongly and get outraged every time our privacy is infringed by governments or companies. This is also shown by the result of the recent Dutch referendum about the new intelligence law: 49,5 percent voted against the law, allegedly valuing privacy more than security.

On the other side of the coin, privacy is the first value we are ready to give up on in the face of other, possibly more imminent factors. Look at the Patriot Act in the US after 9/11, and the 46.5% of people who voted in favor of the new Dutch intelligence law in the referendum. Is it the case that we are willing to give up privacy in exchange for the other values, such as security or even entertainment? Mark Zuckerberg has said “Privacy is dead, get over it.”

With us will be Annika Sponselee, partner at Deloitte Risk Advisory and global and north western Europe leader in GDPR knowledge. She will give her perspective on why privacy management is important within companies and what the GDPR will bring.

Els de Busser is specialised in the legal side of privacy. She will bring her knowledge on what privacy means in current law, why it is or is not important to safeguard and why privacy is the easiest value to be trumped by others.

The interview will be 23rd of April at 13:00 at the Roeterseiland campus

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