Democracy, elections and privacy in the spotlight at CPDP conference

Democracy, elections and privacy in the spotlight at CPDP conference

How can democracy be protected? That is the central theme of this year’s CPDP2019, the ground-breaking conference on privacy and data protection, founded by VUB professor and CPDP director Paul De Hert

Specialists in policymaking, lawyers, technology users, academics, consultants, activists, members of civil society and journalists from all over the world are about to meet in Brussels for CPDP, Europe’s leading conference on privacy and data protection. As it does every year, CPDP will offer three days of pioneering panel discussions and side events, in a melting pot of digital technology and politics. CPDP2019 presents more than 80 panels with debates on information technology, privacy and data protection. The event will focus on data protection as a core element of a democratic society and starts Wednesday 30 January.


The session topics are varied: How will data protection be handled in the coming EU elections? What are the implications of Brexit for data protection? What is the state of play of GDPR? How is healthcare using big data? What about regulatory strategies for AI, blockchain technology or the US Cloud Act? What about human and civil rights in the digital age? Session topics include smart cities and privacy, crime control and discriminatory algorithms, #MeToo online, migration and data, privacy and Islam, e-government and EID, data portability and much more.

The event starts with a presentation of the new book by Shoshana Zuboff, a renowned scholar from Harvard Business School. In The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, she deals with the conditions for human development, the digital revolution and the evolution of capitalism. She states that a new form of capitalism has emerged, in which traditional product-based competition has been replaced by data-based competition. “Privacy,” says Zuboff, “is the right to decide how you want to live, what you want to share, and what you choose to expose to the risks of transparency. In surveillance capitalism, these rights are taken away from us without our knowledge. Without our consent. They are used to design products that predict our behavior.” These products are then sold in new markets that she calls behavioural futures markets. “All these entities pay to be allowed to participate in the new behavioural market.”

Other confirmed speakers are:

•      Julian King, European Commissioner for Security Union

•      Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality

•      Julie Cohen, Professor of law at Georgetown University

•      Gary Davis, Global Director of Privacy & Law Enforcement Requests at Apple

•      Gus Hosein, Executive director of Privacy International



Date: 30 January-1 February


- Hallen van Schaarbeek, Koninklijke Sinte-Mariastraat 22, 1030 Brussels

- Area 42, Paleizenstraat 46, 1030 Brussels


Follow CPDP on Facebook ( and Twitter (@CPDPconferences) and participate in the online debate using the hashtag #CPDP2019


For the press

Press releases, selected press photos and background information on the conference can be found at Journalists require an official press card for registration. For interview requests, please contact

Imge Ozcan / +32 488 28 17 42

Camille Van Puymbroeck / +32 484 990 551

Paul De Hert / +32 498 81 16 51


About CPDP

CPDP was founded in 2007 by research groups from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Université de Namur and the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands. In the following years the platform was expanded to include France’s Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique and the Fraunhofer Institut für System und Innovationsforschung in Germany. CPDP has since grown into a platform supported by 20 academic centres of excellence in the EU, US and elsewhere. Its unique multidisciplinary formula has made CPDP one of the world’s leading conferences on privacy and data protection.


About Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society. 

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