Economic integration

Data protection systems must balance privacy and economic integration, says UN expert

A model personal data protection system should strike a healthy balance between the protection of the fundamental right to privacy and the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital, while ensuring economic and social integration, a said a UN human rights expert on Thursday.

“My goal is to provide clear international guidance on how to protect against privacy breaches, prevent violations suffered by vulnerable individuals and groups, and ensure the protection of their dignity, equality and their freedoms,” said the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to privacy, Ana Brian Nougrères, said in a report at the Human Rights Council.

Nougrères said it was crucial to overcome potential technological challenges to privacy, particularly discriminatory practices by state and non-state actors in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, internet of objects, virtual reality, augmented reality, biotechnology, blockchain technology and mass video surveillance.

“The digital age has many advantages; but some digital technologies have made it possible to violate privacy. Privacy is a fundamental right that enables autonomy, decision-making, innovation and ultimately the development of human personality,” the expert said.

The report examines how the Ibero-American and European Union personal data protection systems could provide a model for harmonization and cooperation in the development of data privacy principles in the global context.

“Cooperation between the Ibero-American and European mechanisms can create a more integrated system of personal data protection, based on mutual respect and fair and democratic principles,” Nougrères said.

Achieving this cooperation could lead to the implementation of the digital privacy principles, in which integration and harmonization are achievable goals, provided that it can be implemented on the basis of ethical principles guaranteeing the respect for the diversity of all peoples, said the expert.

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