GDPR Misconception No. 10: Privacy will have an impact on technology

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With the principles of “Privacy by Design” and “Privacy by Default” the legislator tries to create facts by propagating technologies that are data protection friendly.

Technologies are generally not data protection-friendly or data protection-unfriendly. The best example is the drones: It is unavoidable that drones could interfere with the general use of airspace and thus potentially the privacy of many citizens. Of course, there are ways to make the use less invasive. The vehicle itself, however, increases the risk potential and will not disappear because it does not comply with data protection requirements. The fundamental problem remains. The same applies to self-propelled cars. The comprehensive monitoring of traffic that this requires is per se unfriendly in terms of data protection. This can be mitigated somewhat, but nothing more.

The potential violation of individual personal rights, however, is countered by a much greater benefit, which consists in a massive reduction in the number of people injured in accidents and killed, thus reducing the overall costs of mobility. This is clearly at the expense of the individuality and personality rights of road users.

As already mentioned in FK 1, this is a social issue that we can only assess to a limited extent from the point of view of data protection. If society develops in the direction of a surveillance state, then it can do so at any time. If, however, the surveillance state only serves to guarantee the safety of its citizens, then one could argue that all is well. However, we all know from good experience that every dictatorial regime was happy to take up and disseminate this argument. In addition, the current systems of power are no longer to be found among the states, but among the major technology providers.

But we ourselves are the biggest watchdogs!

Under the guise of “something could happen”, for example, dashcams are installed in cars, a 100% violation of data protection. Already there are first judgements, which favor such a behavior. What is feasible for the police only after explicit regulation and logging, the private should be allowed to carry out problem-free. There is something wrong here!

The same argument can be found in the justification of every dictatorship, every surveillance state. What was described in Orwells 1984 has changed to the extent that WE are the greatest threat to ourselves.

Ultimately, it is not only about data protection, but about many other elements of social coexistence. When the rulers of the data also become rulers of the economy and politics, then we are confronted with completely new challenges. The threat posed by such systems has been described very impressively by the author Jerome Lanier in his book “WhoOwns the Future”. The injustice of such new systems can be felt every day. We see the possibilities they can offer, but on the other hand we also see the dangers. These dangers, including data protection, are never a reason not to introduce a technology.

The best example is the pistol from the 3-D printer. It is only a matter of time before every child can download such a guide and build a handgun. It is not a question of whether this can be prevented, it will happen one way or the other. The question therefore arises of how to deal with such challenges in the future. The same applies to dealing with data protection issues.

The 3-D pistol is completely harmless from the point of view of the overall risks. One of the greatest challenges is the development of the IOT (Internet of Things). Cheap Internet components are put on the net for every conceivable crap and every single one of them represents a weak point for the entire system. You can’t make it any less drastic. The current situation is that most security experts have no recipes on how to deal with these threats. The industry produces cheap goods that can obviously cause damage, but there are no effective measures. Security expert Bruce Schneier demands that Internet-capable technology should only be sold if it has undergone a government approval procedure (analogous to the production of medicines). Unfortunately, the development and production of Internet components today cannot be compared to the production of medicines. They are much cheaper to produce and can be thrown on the market without obstacles because there are no binding standards. Data protection is therefore only one factor that will have a negative or perhaps even a positive effect on the design options. I am of the opinion that data protection will not have an adverse effect on


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