Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Seminar 5 Position Statement: Dr Andrew McStay

Creative Studies & Media, Bangor University

The surprising absence of intimacy in European Data Privacy Regulations

My interest is the growth in emotional analytics by means of biometric data collection. I have primarily been looking at the commercial application of these in personal devices and public environments - for instance, the growth of advertising billboards that read the faces of viewers for indications of their emotional reactions. I have conducted a 2000 person UK-based survey that demonstrates that people are not happy about such developments. From interviewing industry leaders, privacy NGOs, data regulators in Brussels and media law firms, I am finding a rather alarming picture because current use of emotional analytics is legal in public spaces on the basis that people are not personally identified and that no code is generated about them. (It took a lot of advice to confirm this fact). As it stands, we have no current or forthcoming EU legislation that offers citizen protection from these activities. Closer to the core interests of DATAPSST, there are implications for understanding state surveillance, particularly in regard to cities and publics (e.g. the construction of urban emotional heat maps). I am just getting started on this but have insights from a variety of US and European technologists, and NGOs such as Privacy International, Open Rights Group, Electronic Frontier Foundation and International Association of Privacy Professionals.

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