Can security only be gained on the cost of citizens having to accept cuts in their basic rights? From the 13th to 16th of February, three EU/FP7-funded projects on privacy and security held their kick-off meetings in Vienna. 30 partners from 12 European countries work on the objective to re-explore the relation between basic rights and security.
A presumed trade-off between basic rights and security dominates scientific and political debates. Accordingly, increased security entails extended surveillance, implying that citizens would have to accept cuts in their privacy.
SurPRISE (Surveillance, Privacy and Security: A large scale participatory assessment of criteria and factors determining acceptability and acceptance of security technologies in Europe) will look into the validity of the claim that there is a trade-off between basic rights and security. The results will be discussed in participatory events involving 2,500 citizens from nine European countries. The process aims at exploring whether citizens also see a trade-off between privacy and security or whether there are other factors influencing their assumptions.
PRISMS (PRIvacy and Security MirrorS) develops an evidence-based perspective for reconciling privacy and security, trust and concern. It will examine how technologies aimed at enhancing security increasingly subject citizens to surveillance and often infringe privacy and fundamental rights. A multidisciplinary inquiry will analyse concepts of privacy and security and their relationships. Through a EU-wide survey, the project will investigate whether people think that introducing security technologies goes along with a trade-off.
IRISS (Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies) will focus on observable effects and everyday understandings of surveillance in contemporary Europe. It will analyse differences within and among individual societies and match observed effects against the situation in other parts of the world. IRISS will investigate how surveillance systems and technologies spread across the public and the private sector and impact the fabric of a democratic society, addressing citizens’ perspectives on surveillance and democracy. Options for increasing social, economic and institutional resilience will address how open democratic societies cope with pervasive control and surveillance.
Taken together, project results will contribute to enable technology developers as well as economic and political decision takers to design and run acceptable technical security systems in accordance with civil rights.