The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has announced today the members of the new Ethics Advisory Group on the ethical dimensions of data protection.[1] Luciano Floridi, the OII’s Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information, is one of six members who will advance the societal debate aiming at developing a new framework of digital ethics which can protect the freedom of individuals from the risks of the unlimited processing of personal data. Joining him on the advisory group are: J. Peter Burgess, Jaron Lanier, Aurélie Pols, Antoinette Rouvroy, and Jeroen Van den Hoven.

Reporting to the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) the Ethics Advisory Group will explore the relationships between human rights, technology, markets and business models in the 21st century from an ethical perspective, with particular attention to the implications for the rights to privacy and data protection in the digital environment. It will help define a new digital ethics, allowing better realisation of the benefits of technology for society and the economy in ways which reinforce the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Luciano Floridi is the OII’s Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information. With an impressive track record in the analysis and research in the ethical dimensions of data protection, he is best known for his foundational research on the Philosophy of Information and Information Ethics, two new research areas that he has contributed to establish. He is the Chairman of the Ethics Advisory Board of the European Medical Information Framework, the largest project in the world for the development of a EU research platform of patient-level data. He was the ethicist member of the Advisory Council to Google on the Right to be Forgotten.

He said: “I am deeply honoured to be a member of such an important Ethics Advisory Group. It is a great responsibility. I hope we shall be able to provide ethical guidelines about the use of digital technologies that will benefit individual well-being, societal welfare, research activities, and business prospects in the EU.”

In the release by the EDPS[1], Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: “Most of us agree that we are each more than the sum of our data and yet we are more defined by our quantified selves than ever. Our privacy has almost become a commodity, used to sell ideas and products back to us or to influence our behaviour. I am, therefore, delighted to announce that the EDPS, with the support of an Ethics Advisory Group, has started his work to re-consider the ethical dimension of the relationships between human rights, technology, markets and business models and their implications for the rights to privacy and data protection in the digital environment. With the help of this group, we intend to identify a new ethical approach in the coming years so that individuals are no longer reduced to mere data subjects in the digital environment.”

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