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Brussels, 20 November 2007

Public Security, Privacy and Technology: enhancing personal data protection and providing secure and timely access to information

Technology developments can enhance the protection of privacy and at the same time allow law enforcement authorities for a secure and timely access to information, including personal data. The Conference on Public Security, Privacy and Technology, organised by the European Commission brings together public and private sectors representatives to discuss this topics.

Vice-President Franco Frattini, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, stated that "People's trust is twofold – our citizens entrust us with the task of protecting them against crime and terrorist attacks; however, at the same, they entrust us with safeguarding their fundamental rights. In my opinion, with a good use of technology we can increase security and at the same time enhance protection of privacy and personal data. We must be innovative and always be a step ahead of criminals, terrorists or those who try to undermine our privacy and security."

Technology enables to transfer data as well as to better control access to them and to pinpoint relevant data, reconciling security and privacy needs.

The conference organised today provides an opportunity to discuss activities encompassing different domains, such as technologies development and, in particular, privacy enhancing technologies, public-private dialogue on security research and innovation, and how new technologies can be used to increase security.

The Conference is divided into three parts:

  1. Public security & technology, including presentations by public sector representatives;
  2. Privacy & technology, in the form of a panel consisting of both public and private sectors with representatives from technology producers, data controllers and data subjects;
  3. Public security, privacy & technology: Public-Private Dialogue, which is planned as a panel, consisting of both public and private sector representatives who will examine the role of technology in the globalized world and evaluate measures to guarantee both public security and privacy.


Technologies development to enhance security and privacy is supported at EU level through significantly increased funding opportunities: under the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme (94€ million for the period 2007–2013), concrete projects in the field of data protection and right to privacy are to be financed over next year, including, for instance, studies on the economic benefits of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) and studies on developing standards for deployment of PETs. Also, over the next seven years, almost 750€ million will be spent on policies to improve our common security, and support Member States' work in this field. Nearly one and a half billion Euros is available for security research from the 7th EU Framework Programme on Research, to develop technologies and improve our ability to fight terrorism and crime, secure our infrastructure, border security and civil protection.

To boost public-private dialogue to exchange ideas and develop state of the art technology, the first European Security Research and Innovation Forum was held in September. The Forum, by bringing together the supply and demand sides of security research and innovation, is to ensure the relevance of research results and their use in policy-making.

The Communication on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, adopted in May this year, aims at involving a vast array of actors, including the Commission, national authorities, industry and consumers to identify needs and technological requirements for these technologies, with a view to providing the foundation for user-empowering privacy protection services reconciling legal and technical differences across Europe through public-private partnerships.

The Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of the Data Protection Directive, work with all stakeholders to further reduce national divergences, and study the need for sector-specific legislation to apply data protection principles to new technologies and to satisfy public security needs.
Conference on "Public Security, Privacy and Technology"
DG Justice, Freedom and Security – Data protection

To find out more about Vice President Frattini's work please visit his website:

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