Some Remarks on Surveillance today


  • Stefano Rodotà Emeritus Prof. Universita La Sapienza di Roma and previously President of the Italian Data Protection Authority


What does it mean surveillance today? I say today, because this problem belongs to the political social and legal agenda since many decades. We have an enormous bibliography on this issue, with titles like technologies of control against technologies of freedom, Orwell in Athens, the surveillance society, and so on. And since 1971 people are talking on the assault to the privacy, the death of the privacy. I make reference to the privacy issue because it is quite apparent that the widening of the surveillance implies a continuous erosion of the personal data protection.

The technological trend towards the total disclosure can change our society into a society of surveillance, control, social sorting. In the title of a book on the transparent society there was a question: will technology force us to choose between privacy and freedom? In other words: which is the degree of surveillance compatible with a democratic system?