25C3 -

25th Chaos Communication Congress
Nothing to hide

Sandro Gaycken
Day Day 1 (2008-12-27)
Room Saal 1
Start time 12:45
Duration 01:00
ID 2665
Event type lecture
Track Society
Language used for presentation en

The Trust Situation

Why the idea of data protection slowly turns out to be defective

In many social situations, people start to adjust their behaviour due to surveillance. Inspired by more and more cases of breaches of data protection regulations, an erosion of trust into these regulations and those who forfeit them can be seen. The consequences of this are grim. Either we abolish surveillance technologies or the idea of "informational self-determination".

Surveillance is beginning to show us some first substantial side effects. As its mere technological existence is sufficient to evoke the impression of potential identification in any situation, many people in special situations who fear repercussions emerging from such identification are beginning to be substantially manipulated by surveillance. People in need of aid such as troubled families or drug addicts stop seeking aid as they fear that they will be identified and observed closely henceforth. Informants of the press cannot rely on their anonymity anymore as they know that this can just not be guaranteed anymore. The same applies to witnesses and defendants. They fear telling details of their cases to their own lawyers as they know for a fact that those can be wiretapped too.

Thus what we see is that many social arrangements needed in a just and democratic society or arranged in solidarity actually start to crumble. A decisive thing to note about this now is that data protection regulations do not prevent these people from alterting their behaviour anymore. As data protection needs a situation of trust into many things - the law, science, technology, companies - and as this trust is betrayed more and more often, the mere technological possibility of surveillance becomes more and more sufficient to produce these effects. Thus the idea of data protection to ex post facto regulate the use of surveillance technologies and data is now at its limits. Admitting this, the consequences are grim. Either the technologies themselves have to be abolished again - and that's not going to happen - or the idea of "informational self-determination" has to be given up. And that's "Goodbye freedom".