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. The sometimes heated 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. But is that really true?
At least the perception of a contradiction between freedom and security is these days probably stronger than ever: this is the framework in which this year’s EDEN conference “Freedom AND Security – Killing the zero sum process” will develop. Following the success of its 2016 predecessor (“Privacy in the Digital Age of Encryption and Anonymity Online”), this event is the result of the collaboration between the Europol Data Protection Experts Network (EDEN) and the Academy of European Law (ERA), and will be held at Europol Headquarters on 22-23 November 2018. Due to the high visibility of its speakers – coming from different sectors all over the world – and due to the relevance of its topics – from the implementation of the Police and Justice DP Directive to the end of the data retention regime – this conference represents a great opportunity for any relevant stakeholder interested in data protection matters in a law enforcement context. 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 will aim to overcome the perceived contradiction between freedom and security.