"Technology-led Policing: Between Privacy & Security" was a big success

The event “Technology-led Policing: Between Privacy & Security”, organized by Homo Digitalis, was concluded. The main message of the event was the need for the better protection of human rights while the police authorities use new technologies. The event took place on Wednesday 30 September at Technopolis, City of Athens. Unfortunately, the audience could not attend the event with physical presence, due to coronavirus restrictions. However, the event was publicly available through live stream on YouTube.

The event was part of the Digital Ri.Se (Digital Rights & Security) project, which is being funded by the Active Citizens Fund of EEA Grants.

Prominent speakers exchanged views on the use of new technologies by the Greek Police and the legal framework in place, regarding the processing of personal data and the metadata retention.

The event focused at informing the public for the current situation and the challenges arising from it. Furthermore, the event’s aim was to enforce communication and cooperation between all stakeholders.

The event was a big success, since:

  1. Firstly, all the subject matter stakeholders spoke all together for the first time since 2014. The emerging need for a new legal framework was their main conclusion, if police authorities intend to use new technologies in the fight against crime. New technologies may be used only in a way, which respects human rights and freedoms. It must be noted that even though the Greek Police was not present at the event, it showed great interest for its conclusions and showed great enthusiasm for this Homo Digitalis initiative. Representatives of the Ministry of Digital Governance, the Data Protection Authority, the Authority for Communication Privacy and Security, members of the judiciary, academics, civil society representatives from Greece and the EU and journalists took part in the discussion. They all showed great enthusiasm for the level of discussion and wait for it to be continued, with a view to drafting a firm legal framework.
  1. Secondly, more than 750 citizens watched the event on live stream. The event is now available to watch on YouTube, with the interest on it constantly increasing.

The conclusions of the event shall also be available soon.

As Homo Digitalis, we state that this event marks only the beginning of our efforts to protect human rights, while the Greek Police successfully combats crime. in the digital era.

We warmly thank Active Citizens Fund and EEA and Norway Grants, as well as the Bodossaki Foundation and Solidarity Now. Without them, Digital Ri.Se. could not have been organized.


Open Event: “Technology–led Policing: Between privacy and security”

Greek Police may currently use drones to enhance its efficiency in fighting against crime. In 2021, it is expected to receive smart devices with facial recognition software; these devices are expected to be used by police officers on patrol to process citizens’ biometric data (fingerprints and photos), in order to identify them.

Moreover, a Presidential Decree on the use of CCTV in public areas is expected soon. The media are also reporting legislative initiatives on the use of body worn cameras by certain police officers.

Despite all these developments, the Greek State has not yet revised its legislation on electronic communications’ data retention and police access to them, according to the guidelines issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in 2014. It is notable that a law drafting committee was formed in 2014, but has not publicized any result until today.

A new CJEU ruling on the topic is expected in fall 2020. Prominent civil rights organizations, such as Privacy International and La Quadrature du Net play an important role in the case. Electronic communications’ metadata retention provides for the possibility of important conclusions regarding people’s privacy.

Such conclusions refer to daily activities, permanent or temporary living locations, usual transport, activities, social relations, etc.

Homo Digitalis, taking into account these developments, holds an open event in Technopolis, City of Athens on Wednesday 30 September. The purpose of this event is to inform the public on the current situation and potential challenges on human rights, but also to bring together the various stakeholders and enhance cooperation between them, with a view to ameliorating the legal framework on the topic.

Representatives by the Greek Police, the Greek Data Protection Authority, the Authority for Communication Security and Privacy, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, as well as academics and civil society will participate in the event.

Τhe event will be available on live stream and will also be filmed and will be available online.

If you want to watch the event on live stream, please register below.

The event is part of the Digital Ri.Se. (Digital Rights & Security) project by Homo Digitalis, which takes place under the auspices of the “Active Citizens Fund”. The funding of the project comes from the EEA countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway).