Surveillance, resilience & privacy
Paris, Dec. 6th @ UTC

About the conference ...

Surveillance is often framed as a resilience building tool in the security discourse. However, if human rights and democracy are included in the object of resilient behaviour, the relationship between resilience and surveillance becomes ambiguous, as it often ends up undermining the very values it aims at protecting.

Privacy and data protection, both fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, may also be construed as tools enhancing the resilience of democratic social values, such as freedom of expression or freedom from unlawful discrimination.

The idea of developing ICT systems that are resilient against pervasive surveillance, and that are set up to enforce privacy and data protection both by design and by default have inspired part of the recent literature in computer science. Both the IETF and the W3C have worked on standards aimed at building privacy into the design of Internet architecture in order to make it resilient against the invasion of pervasive monitoring or of commercial tracking and fingerprinting practices. An EU H2020 call called “Building blocks for resilience in evolving ICT systems” is an example of how resilience and data protection are at times framed together.

This conference aims at looking at the relation between surveillance, resilience, privacy and data protection from a critical perspective. Based on recent theoretical work by Charles Raab, Richard Jones, and Iván Székely, the idea is to conceptualise if and how one can talk about “privacy resilient ICT systems”.

If such is the case, what are the tools that endow “ICT systems” with this quality? How are notions such as risk, resilience, privacy and data protection socially constructed and situated in this context? Is it possible to build “privacy resilient ICT systems” with a one-size-fits-all agenda, or is it necessary to gain more in-depth field knowledge of how these systems are used in order to tailor different systems to different threat models?

Social scientists, lawyers and computer science scholars will be invited to a discussion with the aim of laying down the ground for future research projects to further the understanding on the relations between surveillance, resilience, privacy and data protection.

Main research question for the conference : Can privacy engineering improve privacy resilience in information societies?

Sub-questions :

1. Is resilience just a term used in the security world as a rally point to lower citizens’ privacy standards and expectations?

2. How does resilience relate to privacy and data protection?

3. What do we mean by “privacy resilience” if there even is such a thing?

4. Can we engineer “privacy resilience” ?

5. Does free software improve privacy resilience?

6. How to measure resilience / the resilience of an ecosystem?

Scientific committee

  • Lucien Castex – Université Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle
  • Francesca Musiani – Institut des sciences de la communication / CNRS
  • Julien Rossi – Université Rennes 2
  • Iván Székely – Open Society Archives / Central European University