miércoles, 18 de mayo de 2016

The need of a new approach for the scalability of digital #privacy

Digital surveillance and the handling of personal data has been constantly in the papers since the Snowden revelations. The annoyance with the US authorities of the European governments and civil society have been growing since then. The more outstanding sign of this unrest was the annulment of the Safe Harbor agreement after the sentence of the Schrem case.

After hard negotiations, US and EU authorities have achieved an agreement for ensuring personal data privacy and establishing guarantees against undiscriminated surveillance on both sides of the Atlantic called Privacy Shield. The agreement try to reconcile the different cultures towards digital privacy in US and Europe. The cornerstone of the differences is the European view of privacy as a fundamental right. In spite of the efforts, it looks that the agreement will be challenged as soon as it will be approved and the European data protection watchdogs are in the front line of those who are pinpointing the shortcomings of the new agreement.

But let's imagine that everything goes right with the Privacy Shield. The agreement will be just a mutual guarantee for digital privacy of EU and US citizens. The citizens from other countries could still be under undiscriminated surveillance in US and EU. For instance, the smartphones of syrian refugees would still be hacked by EU custom authorities without any restriction. The extension of digital privacy guarantees to other countries' citizens will require new bilateral agreements. In case of Brexit, even the UK may need to establish its own privacy agreements with EU and US.

The digital globalisation show the limits of bilateral guarantees in the field of privacy. The scenario of a mesh of bilateral agreements looks as a unavoidable nightmare. Only a new approach based on an international global agreement would restore the trust on digital services in a global scale. And the only truth is that without trust the digital economy would not be able to survive as the driver of growth and well-being.

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