This blog is a continuation of discussion beginning in each of the DATA-PSST! seminars. Funded by the UK's Economic & Social Research Council, they assess the premise that, after the Edward Snowden revelations of 2013, we now live in a materially and qualitatively different techno-cultural period. This blog allows delegates to express their positions, clarify arguments and carry on debates. Interested citizens and groups are also more than welcome to comment.
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.