We call on the Greek DPA to investigate the Ministry of Interior for the use of artificial intelligence algorithms for the reallocation of employees in the public sector

On 9 July Homo Digitalis filed a request (no. 5812/9.7.2024) before the Greek Data Protection Authority, in order for the latter to exercise its investigative powers against the Ministry of Interior.

In particular, following the Authority’s Decision 16/2024 in April 2024, by which it had imposed a record fine of 400,000 euros on the Ministry of Interior for significant breaches of data protection legislation, the Ministry is again in the spotlight, this time for the artificial intelligence tool it is developing for strategic staffing planning in the public sector.

The tool concerns the reallocation of existing staff and the estimation of the needs for new staff, while it will be piloted in 9 public sector institutions, namely the Development Programmes Organisation and Management Unit, the Independent Public Expenditure Authority, the Public Employment Service, the Athens General Hospital “G. Gennimatas Hospital, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the Region of Attica, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The project is expected to be completed in December 2025, at a cost of €11,708,543.

Because the tool needs to include functionalities for the collection, management and analysis of personal data, Homo Digitalis had filed a letter on 15 April 2024 before the then Minister of Interior Ms.Kerameos and the Data Protection Officer of the Ministry, in which it raised key questions regarding both the compliance required with the legislation on the protection of personal data and the legislation on the use of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies in the public sector (Law 4961/2022). However, the Ministry did not provide any response, even after a written reminder of our request on 30 May, forcing us to address the DPA to investigate thoroughly  the development, implementation and piloting of this tool and the implications for the rights of public sector employees.

You can see our request here (EL).

We participated in European Commission’s roundtable on the DSA enforcement

Last Monday, the 8th of July, Homo Digitalis was invited to participate in the European Commission’s Roundtable on the implementation of the Digital Services Act.

During the roundtable, the European Commission presented an updated of the various steps taken on DSA enforcement so far, highlighting how Civil Society Organizations can act as an important ally in this field. Also, the EC provided an updated on the A.28 Guidelines with regard to the Protection of Minors.

Next, the CSOs that participated in the roundtable had the opportunity to share with the European Commission their current activities, expertise and project capacities in key areas of the implementation of the DSA and exchange views on activities and plans.

We would like to thank the European Commission for this important opportunity to engage with CSOs and their kind invitation to participate in this roundtable. It remains to be seen if national authorities at Greek level, will follow a similar approach and invite Homo Digitalis and other CSOs to a fruitful dialogue with regard to the enforcement of the DSA and the Greek Law 5099/2024.

Our team was represented in the roundtable by Eleftherios Chelioudakis.

We give a lecture at the OSCE's three-day training seminar on the protection of human rights at the borders

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) organizes next week its training course for human rights defenders working at international borders in Warsaw!  The three-day training course aims to enable human rights defenders to understand the human rights implications of border technologies and to improve their skills in collecting and verifying information through various means, including new technologies, for effective human rights monitoring at borders.

On a pro bono basis, Homo Digitalis and HIAS Greece will give a lecture during the training course related to our great success with the KENTAUROS and HYPERION case!

Our lecture titled “Combating Centaurs and Titans – Leveraging Data Protection Law to Counter Intrusive Surveillance in Migration” will focus on how data protection law can be strategically employed to challenge invasive surveillance technologies used in migration. Eleftherios Chelioudakis will represent Homo Digitalis in this lecture.

We would like to thank the organizers for their kind invitation, as well as HIAS Greece for the great collaboration.

You can find more information about the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) here.

Centaur & Hyperion: We asked the Greek DPA whether the Ministry of Immigration & Asylum has made the necessary compliance steps

In the framework of the Decision 13/2024 of the Greek Data Protection Authority (DPA), which was posted on its website on 2/4/2024, the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum was instructed to take all necessary steps to complete its compliance with the obligations of the controller, as described in the body of the Decision, within 3 (three) months from the date of its receipt.

Given that on Tuesday 2/7/2024, 3 months were completed, we decided to send a letter to the DPA on Wednesday 3/7/2024 (ref. no. G/EIS/5662/03-07-2024) requesting to be informed whether the Authority has received any relevant information from the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum regarding the completion of its compliance, as it was obliged to do.

It remains to be seen what level of compliance has been achieved in these three months in a case that is of the utmost importance.

The third round of NGI TALER Funding Applications is now open! Deadline is October 1!

Do you have an idea for a project based on free software and privacy principles that is relevant to the NGI TALER mission, but you missed our first two open calls for funding?

You still have the chance to make your idea a reality!!! NGI TALER’s 3rd open call for funding has been open since the beginning of June and the deadline for submitting proposals is 1 October , at 12:00 CET (Brussels noon).

We invite you to help reshape the state of digital payment systems and help create an open, trustworthy and privacy-friendly internet for all!

We are looking for project proposals between €5,000 and €50,000. The call is open to businesses, academics, the public sector, non-profit organisations, communities and stakeholders. You can contribute exciting new features to GNU Taler itself, build utilities, work on user experience, develop integrations to FOSS applications and open standards (for example, enable P2P micropayments in an instant messenger, an open social media platform or a video conferencing tool) or develop improvements to infrastructure components (such as merchant backends)!

Visit the NGI – The Next Generation Internet website for more information on this and other funding calls here.

Visit the NLnet Foundation website to read our detailed open call, applicant guide, eligibility requirements and FAQs, and to submit your form, here.

Register now on the TALER Community Interface Hub (TALER ICH) to discuss with us here.

We successfully organized the annual General Assembly of EDRi in Heraklion, Crete for 2024

Last month, and specifically on May 17-19, a big dream of Homo Digitalis from the first years of its foundation became reality! We co-organized in Greece, for the first time, the annual General Assembly of European Digital Rights (EDRi)!

For three days the heart of digital rights protection and promotion was beating in Heraklion, Crete, with representatives from more than 60 organizations of the EDRi network being there!!!

Three days full of discussions, workshops, exchange of ideas and important celebratory moments, during which participants were given the opportunity to learn more about Cretan tradition, with lessons in traditional dances, local Cretan cuisine from the years of the Minoan Civilization and moments of relaxation on the Dia island.

The GA was a huge success, and this is of course due to the unique contribution of the people who contributed to its organization!

A huge thank you to the President of Homo Digitalis, Elpida Vamvaka, who successfully guided us in this difficult project, to the members of the organization who were the secret ingredient of success, in alphabetical order, Angelina Barla, Adamantia Volikou, Vassiliki Giannaki, Yannis Spanakis, Giorgos Sarris, Kiki Syntichaki, Manos Papadakis, Niki Georgakopoulou, Tania Scrapaliori and Haris Daftsios, as well as to our employees Lamprini Gyftokosta and Eleftherios Chelioudakis who gave all their energy and passion! Also, we could not fail to thank the unique team of the EDRi Office, namely Claire Fernandez, Guillermo Peris, Jean Duclos and Nevena Krivokapic.

It is important to emphasize that during the GA, our members Angelina Barla, Giorgos Sarris, Niki Georgakopoulou and Haris Daftsios, also gave a workshop on the proposed European legislation on combating the trafficking of child exploitation material on the internet (Regulation to Prevent and Combat Child Sexual Abuse – Child Sexual Abuse Regulation – CSAR).

At this point we would like to thank the non-profit organization Bizrupt for the use of its office space for the festive event of the General Assembly on Friday 17 May, the Charitable Foundations Andreou and Maria Kalokairinou for the pro bono use of its Social Space for the hosting of the General Assembly on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May, the Cretan Cuisine Festival Association for the unique traditional dishes that they provided us with free of charge, and the Lazaros and Manolis Chnaris Folklore Club for the Cretan Traditional Dance classes and the related performance that they provided free of charge.

We would like to express our gratitude for this unique support from the above-mentioned organizations, who have shown in practice with their attitude once again, their unreserved support for the work of the EDRi network organizations, regarding the protection and promotion of Human Rights in the modern digital era. We are honoured to have them as our partners.

Finally, we would also like to thank local businesses for their excellent services throughout this project, namely Gea Holidays, Siganos Executive Food Events, Notos Brewery, Avanti Sailing, Yannaris Grill, Veganato, Guernica Bar, Taverna Xylouris, Plaisio Print, and Creta Oil.

We give a lecture on AI ACT at company bora

Tomorrow, June 20, Homo Digitalis will give a talk-seminar on AI Act before the workforce and partners of the company bora.

Specifically, Homo Digitalis’ AI & Human Rights Manager, Lamprini Gyftokosta, in a 1-hour web presentation in English, will take a deep dive into the important provisions of the new legislation and discuss relevant compliance challenges with the audience!

Many thanks to bora for the kind invitation to host this seminar, and especially to Anastasios Arampatzis, Joe Pettit & David Turner!

You can learn more about bora here.

If you would also like to invite Homo Digitalis to provide a relevant seminar to your employees, you can express your interest at info@homodigitalis.gr

Homo Digitalis speaks at the 2nd Colour of Surveillance Conference

Homo Digitalis has the great honour and pleasure to speak at the 2nd European Colour of Surveillance Conference “Liberation Practices in times of Fascism”, which this time is being held on 26 & 27 June in Berlin by the organisations Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice, International Women* Space and Weaving Liberation!

Specifically, Homo Digitalis’ Director of Human Rights & AI, Lamprini Gyftokosta, will give a speech in the framework of the Workshop “Blue: the colour of surveillance In Greece: lessons from challenging Migration Tech” during the second day of the conference!

We would like to thank the organizers for the kind invitation and hospitality!

You can learn more about the conference programme here.


Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

We want access to essential services to be guaranteed offline too!

In the beginning of June, Homo Digitalis joined a large number of orgsanisations calling the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament to guarantee access to essential services offline!

Public administration, banks and energy suppliers, as well as employers, health providers and more, have moved online, and counters, mail services and phone lines are disappearing. Yet, more than 40% of Europe’s population still lacks basic digital skills, preventing them from accessing certain essential services. There is an urgent need to guarantee multichannel (incl. off-line) access to all essential services.

Yu can sign the related open letter here.

The coordinator of this action is Lire et Écrire, a Belgian based literacy organization. Since 1983, the organization provides free literacy trainings and research on illiteracy and literacy processes.