DEF Debate: Security, Surveillance and Civil Liberties in Cyber Space


Digital Enlightenment Forum
Policy and StrateGY Debate

Security, Surveillance and Civil Liberties in Cyber Space – DRAFT

This debate is on invitation only - Please contact us when you are interested to participate


The human rights issues raised when activities of individuals in Cyberspace are monitored either by the State or others have been addressed by legislators and regulators for more than 30 years now.

Any such monitoring or related activities, constitute ipso facto an interference with at least the privacy rights and the right to data protection of such individuals, and possibly with their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of religion. Moreover, if such measures are taken as part of criminal investigations (or may lead to such investigations), they raise fair trial – and fair investigation – issues.

However, as technological advance allows exponentially increasing data storage capacity, even more powerful data analytics tools and the ubiquitous devices constituting the growing internet of things, much of the existing relation is rendered inadequate to deal dynamically with emerging threats to civil liberties.

It is in response to this that a number of initiatives worldwide, including the “trust and security” plank of the European Commission’s strategy for a Digital Single Market are gathering speed.

One of the most serious threats to the rule of law as such is the growing attempts to define cybersecurity as inherently being an integral part of national security. Two particular threats emerging from this are:

  1. Individuals suspected of a wide range of crimes – including crimlevant Websitees not in any way involving violence – are increasingly treated as “terrorists” and/or as “threatening the fundamental order of the State”.
  2. The law enforcement agencies in states otherwise strongly committed to the rule of law are increasingly adopting the methods, practices and ethos of security agencies – who have very often been shown to cross the boundaries set by the rule of law.

The development of an EU approach to these issues is critical to the success of the Digital Single Market strategy and the trust of European citizens in the EU institutions.

This debate will focus on such issues and will try to explore (a framework of) rules for Europe to maintain its values and human rights, whilst ensuring the security of individuals and the state and is aimed to produce  concrete recommendations in the form of a white book.


Further Reading

Relevant Website of Civil Rights Groups:



13.00 – 13.30     Welcome and coffee
13.30 – 13.50     Welcome by Graham Wilmott (HoU Security Research, DG Home)

                           Introduction by the chair Brian Randell (Univ Newcastle u/T, UK)


Introduction to the debate  (these will mostly be short pitches of 10 min, with 5 min of specific questions)


13.50 – 14.10     Cyberjustice – Eurojust’s judicial support in the fight against cybercrime, Ms Michele Coninsx (President of Eurojust)

14.10 – 14.25     Security and Civil Right in the Digital Single Market, Jakub Boratynski (HoU Trust and Security, DG CNECT, EC)

14.25–  14.40     The tensions between Cyber Security and Civil Liberties, Douwe Korff (London Metropolitan Univ)

14.40 – 14.55     Perspectives from Industry, Volkmar Lotz (Board member TDL,  Dir Security research SAP)

14.55 – 15.10     How can we find the balance? Bart Preneel (KU Leuven, BE)   


Coffee / Tea

15.40 – 17.00     Debate

17.00 – 17.30     Conclusions and wrap up

17.30 – 18.30     Social get-together



European Commission, Room 5B,

45 Av. D'Auderghem, Brussels, Belgium