If you want to join one or both sessions, mail and indicate which session(s) you want to participate in. You’ll receive a link in time.

19th November 2020 16.00-17.00 - Autonomy


Beate Roessler is one of the world’s most renowned experts on privacy; she has published books on the Value of privacy, the Social dimension of privacy and the Morality of personal relationships. Beate will discuss her latest book which concerns Autonomy. Many aspects of our life are not freely chosen. This applies to social relationships as well as many situations we landed up in without deliberate consideration. Everyday experience teaches us that self-determination can indeed succeed, but also often fails. The program for this symposium is simple: about a half our lecture by Beate, about a half our time for Q&A with the participants.



27th November 2020 14.00-16.00 – Horizontal Privacy


Horizontal privacy has recently gained new momentum. On the one hand, the tools that enable citizens to easily collect and disseminate data about each other, such as products designed specifically for these purposes (so called spy or espionage products) and products that offer far-reaching possibilities to do so (smartphones, drones, smart doorbells, etc.), are becoming increasingly available and accessible to ordinary citizens. On the other hand, costs have continued to dwindle, so that economic barriers to the purchase and use these products have been removed almost completely. Both developments have resulted in a democratisation of these products. Three reports have been written on request of the Dutch Ministry of Justice concerning the regulation of horizontal privacy. These will discussed during this symposium:


14.00 - 14.20 - Esther Keymolen: At First Sight: An exploration of facial recognition and privacy risks in horizontal relationships.

14.20 - 14.30 - Q&A

14.30 - 14.50 - Masa Galic: Spying with hobby drones and others technologies by citizens: an exploration of the privacy risks and regulation options

14.50 - 15.00 - Q&A

15.00 - 15.20 – Bart van der Sloot (on behalf of Bart Schermer): The right to privacy in horizontal relationships

15.20 - 15.30 - Q&A

15.30 - 16.00 – General discussion and Q&A

10th December 2020 13.00-15.30 - Privacy Enhancing Technologies and GDPR

The analysis of data from different sources is becoming increasingly important. In addition to creating added value, the process of combining different datasets leads to new insights, better decision-making, and more robust research (including market research), in addition to stronger products and services. At the same time, relevant data is often too sensitive to be casually shared with others. The European privacy legislation (General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR) introduces new restrictions on which data can be shared, for what purpose, and in what way.

The program and more information on the roundtable Privacy Enhancing Technologies and GDPR can be found here.

11th December 2020 14:00-16:00 – Framing during the pandemic 


In a series of round-table discussions, we call on you to think, argue, and tease out several privacy and identity related themes with us. You can also offer to be a discussion starter: come armed with your one-minute pitch, and we’ll set you up. You may email these as video beforehand, or pitch your statement live. We will announce the discussion starters to those who signed up for the session before the 11th.


General theme


In March, the Dutch government rolled out a large set of measures with serious implications for people's personal lives. These measures were mainly medically informed; later on, especially when measures were scaled down, the government said to source advice from a broader arrange of disciplines. By that time, criticism was on the table. Even if ‘public health’ as a main concern is less medically framed, there’s a lot to choose with regard to subjects within it. What’s ‘vulnerable’? Who’s a ‘household’? Where is ‘safe’? Whose ‘normal’ are we aiming for? Similar questions were raised in other countries.


Some critiques provoked early public policy reactions. In a dutchploitation headline that reminds of Holland’s past liberal image, those without a ‘household’ partner were advised to “find a sex buddy for lockdown.” But where this ‘freedom to’ is certainly one dimension of private life under pressure, people also seek buddies for other reasons, and other capabilities are under pressure: to be educated, to work, speak up, seek care, and to not be with people in ways we don’t want to.


The way we are framed by public institutions in the pandemic shapes our well-being during it, but we can expect effects to go well beyond this stage. And with such impact on private and social life, addressing these as issues of privacy and identity makes sense. We created an agenda to address these in a line-up of roundtables around several concepts and framings. As a bonus, an additional roundtable in January compares The Netherlands and Belgium on how their respective leaders frame their policy choices as befitting their citizens’ ‘national identities.’


We warmly invite you to participate. Sign up, start a discussion, suggest an additional roundtable – let’s meet! The language of choice will be English unless everyone in the room speaks Dutch.


Roundtables breakdown:


14.00-14.50 Roundtable 1: The Household and the Home


Part 1: ‘The household’: In policy and its rhetoric, citizens in many European countries are addressed in ‘household’ units, where ‘household’ seems to point to the nuclear family. This ignores other socio-economic bonds that people form, disrupting their abilities to care for each other. Meanwhile, people in nuclear families that do exist, don’t necessarily benefit from this framing either as it implies  a fall back on traditional patterns.


What other ‘unit descriptions’ could serve policy purposes, better (and why don’t they)?


Part 2: ‘The home #1: affordances’  All homes are not equal, so when you ask of people to stay inside, this works out differently for them. Health issues arise, and the homes of those who can theoretically access their work and school remotely may not accommodate it for various reasons of size, quality, or household composition. When pupils started falling off grid,  calls went up to allow certain groups to come to school just like pupils  from ‘vital jobs’ parents.


How to understand the lack of a fairer ‘designated places’ policy from the start?


14.50-15.00 online coffee break


15.00-16.00 Roundtable 2:  Safety and the Vulnerable


Part 1: ‘The home #2: safety’  Despite warnings to prevent this from happening, aggression in the home against (especially) women and children worldwide has risen sharply. Effects of locking people down in unsafe households, blocking access to and from help, and disrupting institutionalized monitoring of interferences has left many people unsafe in the name of the safety of, apparently, others.


How could un-conflating ‘stay safe’ and ‘stay home’ promote a safer framing?


Part 2: ‘The vulnerable’


As ‘vulnerables,’ highly diverse groups of high-risk people are subject to various policy measures designed to shield them from virus exposure. The general rationale seems to be to ‘keep them safe’ by distancing them from general societal action and interaction, rather than safeguarding their places within it. This adds to pre-existent societal obstacles for them to shape their lives & identities. And for many high-risk people, isolation-inducing measures turned out particularly detrimental.


To claim a voice in policy discussions, and at times in public discourses where the ‘young and fit’ are pitched against them, policy addressees inevitably take the mic as ‘vulnerables,’  but this also renders them so: the need to pitch sensitive attributes in order to claim equal privacy rights exposes them to (online) abuse. In a similar vein, they find themselves defending their worth against allegations of socio-economic superfluousness.


What positive difference would other framings than ‘vulnerable’ (e.g., ‘high risk’) make, and why aren’t they used?