The existence of freedom in a digital world


Time: 19:30 – 20:30
Date: 4 June 2020
Language: English

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, the EU has taken a major step towards improving the privacy of European citizens. This legislation entails certain rights, such as the right to know who is processing your data or the right to have your data erased and forgotten. You have probably noticed the introduction of this legislation by the increase of cookies and privacy statements on websites, informing you that your data is being collected.

The GDPR is an important step in protecting privacy. However in a completely digitized society, privacy is only the tip of the iceberg.

Below are a number of factors that make it difficult to be a free citizen in society.

Data extraction and Artificial Intelligence
Governments, in addition to companies, collect a large amount of data. Based on this data, more and more automated decisions are made. For example, to indicate the most efficient route for garbage trucks, but also to determine who will receive benefits or where in the city more police will patrol.

Especially within the city, the public space is full of security cameras and sensors. This surveillance technology makes it possible to follow people, detect abnormal behaviour and also influence or ‘nudge’ behaviour.

Much of the technology in the city is in the hands of companies that are hired for these services. Our online communication also largely takes place via commercial platforms including social media, Google and, in these times of video calling, tools such as Zoom. This means that public space and our modes of communication are increasingly ending up in private hands.

You can thus question whether public space is still ours. In the future, will there still be facets of our lives that we, as citizens, own and control?

During this last meeting of the Parliament of the Future, we look at our digitized world and formulate a future scenario in which freedom is guaranteed.

We will do this with the following speakers:

  • Florian Cramer (Reader in 21st Century Visual Culture/Autonomous Practices at Willem de Kooning Academy)
  • Douwe Schmidt (Internet & privacy expert, founder manifesto)

Surveillance chess – Hijacking CCTV cameras

Why we still vote with a pencil

Tada: data in the city


About Parliament of the Future