As quietly as possible, the last people slide into the large hall, knocking the wet snow off their coats, they take a sip of their coffee and they plod on their chairs. At the back of the ‘Grande Halle’ in Les Halles in Brussels, ‘the bellman’ swings his loud bell. This is how the last day of CPDP, an international congress in Brussels on Computers, Privacy, Data and Protection (CPDP) begins. The theme of this twelfth edition was data protection and democracy. “Data is so widely represented, we simply cannot avoid it”, says Paul de Hert, chairman of the CPDP platform and affiliated to the Free University of Brussels. “It is in the care, financial sector and elections. It’s everywhere. That’s why it’s so important to talk to experts from all these different sectors about what’s being done with data and the new technology this brings. But we also look at the whole picture. What impact does all this data and technology have? Here we emphasize that good data protection is a fundamental part of our democratic society.”
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