Privacy in the 21st Century: From the “Dark Ages” to “Enlightenment”?

Paper by P. Kitsos and A. Yannoukakou in the International Journal of E-Politics (IJEP): “The events of 9/11 along with the bombarding in Madrid and London forced governments to resort to new structures of privacy safeguarding and electronic surveillance under the common denominator of terrorism and transnational crime fighting. Legislation as US PATRIOT Act and EU Data Retention Directive altered fundamentally the collection, processing and sharing methods of personal data, while it granted increased powers to police and law enforcement authorities concerning their jurisdiction in obtaining and processing personal information to an excessive degree. As an aftermath of the resulted opacity and the public outcry, a shift is recorded during the last years towards a more open governance by the implementation of open data and cloud computing practices in order to enhance transparency and accountability from the side of governments, restore the trust between the State and the citizens, and amplify the citizens’ participation to the decision-making procedures. However, privacy and personal data protection are major issues in all occasions and, thus, must be safeguarded without sacrificing national security and public interest on one hand, but without crossing the thin line between protection and infringement on the other. Where this delicate balance stands, is the focal point of this paper trying to demonstrate that it is better to be cautious with open practices than hostage of clandestine practices.”