Privacy rights as a global challenge

By EDRi · November 7, 2012

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Datenschutz als globale Herausforderung |]

With more than 100 on-site participants and almost 4000 remote attendees
through the live webcast, the 2012 Public Voice Conference was, this
year again, a full success. The 2012 edition was held on 22 October 2012
in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in conjunction with the 34th International
Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners.

Civil society groups, privacy advocates, data protection and privacy
officials, technology experts and other professionals from different
countries and regions gathered to discuss “Privacy Rights as a Global
Challenge”, including current hot topics such as:
– international approaches to consumer privacy rights enforcement;
– preserving civic participation in public affairs through open
government and citizen engagement;
– cross cultural views on privacy, freedom of expression
and human rights on data collection, retention and use, where EDRi
observer Gus Hosein and EDRi member Meryem Marzouki took part.
Specific panels were also dedicated to identifying the next challenges
for digital privacy protection, taking the global temperature on
consumer and privacy protection and examining the relative merits and
flaws of legislations versus self regulations.

As usual, The Public Voice Conference Program Committee took care of
highlighting the regional situation taking into account the venue’s
country, while assessing at the same time global developments. A
specific panel, moderated by EDRi observer Cedric Laurant, on “Adoption
and Implementation of Latin America’s Consumer and Privacy Protection
Laws” was dedicated to the former issue. The latter took the form of a
panel, moderated by EDRi member Meryem Marzouki, which assessed the 2009
Madrid Civil Society Privacy Declaration on “Global Privacy Standards
for a Global World” with regards to recent developments worldwide,
namely the mechanisms currently under consideration by the European
Union (with the new data protection framework proposal), the Asian
Pacific Economic Cooperation (with the implementation of the APEC
Privacy Framework), the Council of Europe (modernization of the CoE
Convention 108), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (revision of the OECD Privacy Guidelines), and the United
States as well (with the US White House plan for a Consumer privacy Bill
of Rights).

The Public Voice Conference is a main project of The Public Voice
Coalition, an international coalition of NGOs and civil society groups
established by the Electronic Privacy and Information Center (EPIC)
since 1996 to promote public participation in decisions concerning the
future of the Internet. Numerous EDRi members and observers are part of
this global coalition, of which EDRi itself is an active member.

Other EDRi members and observers also took part in the following event:
the 34th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy

Javier Ruiz Diaz from EDRi member Open Rights Group (UK) participated in
the Open Data & Privacy panel, where he highlighted some of the
problematic issues ORG has learned from UK experience on open data,
criticising the widespread belief that anonymisation is the easy
solution for open data and privacy. He also highlighted that
anonymisation needs open peer review and responsible disclosure.

Bogdan Manolea from EDRi member ApTI (Romania) represented EDRi at the
“Privacy and Piracy” panel where he focused on the challenges to privacy
of Intellectual Property Enforcement measures and reminded that
ACTA will not be the last attempt to privatise online enforcement in
Europe. He also took the opportunity to highlight EDRi’s work on the
guide to the EU Date Protection Regulation available at

EDRi Observer Gus Hosein, took part in the panel focused on the privacy
implications of biometric data. He underlined that these days the
biometric technology is being used extensively in the developing world
by governments and relief agencies, including in refugee camps and for
voter registration purposes.

Next year, The Public Voice Conference will come to Europe, in
conjunction with the 35th International Data Protection and Privacy
Commissioners conference, to be held on 24-27 September 2013 in Warsaw,

2012 Public Voice Conference (with webcast of the meeting) (22.10.2012)

The 2012 Public Voice Conference “Storifyed”

“The Public Voice” – data protection is a civil right (Peter Schaar’s Blog)

Privacy Officials, Advocates Attend Uruguay Public Voice Conference
(EPIC Alert, 26.10.2012)

2012 Public Voice Conference Resources and Documents

The 2009 Madrid Civil Society Privacy Declaration: “Global Privacy
Standards for a Global World” (03.11.2009)

Madrid Declaration

34th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy
Commissioners (23-24.10.2012)

ORG: Response to the ICO consultation on the draft anonymisation code of
practice (28.09.2012)

Data Privacy Commissioners Discuss Ubiquitous Tracking (31.10.2012)

(Contribution by Meryem Marzouki, EDRi member IRIS – France)