EurPrivacy: privacy in the digital era

The discussion on privacy has changed rapidly in the past decade. The internet has opened a new era of communication, where a message may reach millions, surveillance is automated and invisible and governments start representing their citizens by ones and zero’s. AEGEE-Nijmegen has entered this debate by organising EurPrivacy, a two-day conference on privacy in the digital era.

It focused on several aspects of the privacy debate, from the sociological and philosophical to the legal and cultural aspects. The 45 participants had the opportunity to listen to 13 lecturers. Four lecturers were from abroad; Eva Dzepina from Germany lectured on her courtcase against Google, André Rebentisch spoke on the ACTA-treaty, Rick Falkvinge from Sweden spoke on the Pirate Party which he founded and professor Steve Wright from England lectured on the architecture of surveillance. Some of the prominent Dutch speakers were Ybo Buruma, member of the Dutch High court, investigative journalist Brenno de Winter and the represenatives from the police force and the public transport system.

The participants were quite varied, counting students, professors and professionals. Not only did some travel from the other side of the Netherlands, there even were participants from the Ukraine, Armenia and Germany. On the second day of the conference they were joined by representatives of Amnesty international, the Vrijbit foundation and two major political parties to help frame the discussion.

The Internet-revolution is set to be the greatest leap forward since the agrarian revolution. It has given millions the ability to express themselves and share knowledge in a truly global way. Yet, we all have a need to keep things to ourselves. If we don’t want our identities trampled in the march of progression, we must be very careful. We have to decide who can have our data, and for what purpose. We are in the unique position to shape the shape the new privacy paradigm. We are the i-Generation, and we can make a difference.