#6 Privacy of association

“[P]rivacy of association (including group privacy), is concerned with people’s right to associate with whomever they wish, without being monitored.” (Friedewald, 2013)

As we are social beings we like to gather and create groups sharing something in common. Sometimes we do not even choose to be part of the group – we are being born to a family or to an ethnic. Throughout the history it happened multiple times that one group of people were about to destroy another. So that might be a reason why the data about us associating ourselves with a group should concern us.

I’m considering political / ideological groups. I’m imagining a demonstration or a gathering. Today, we have those cute little drones which could be flying overhead and taking pictures and shooting videos. Then there are all the face recognition softwares. I wonder to which extent police should monitor the people in the crowd. I would say that it depends on the “criminality” of the group – for example rather monitor neo-nazi than student protest. I can already see all the strict regimes (Belarus, Turkey, Russia…) using the technology against opposition.

What is over the edge, according to my opinion, is using DNA data to breach the privacy of association. It was mentioned in the Friedewald’s text that with today’s genome reading technology someone could get to (apart from many other private things) our ethnicity or our family connections. We should decide about it and others should respect the right.

- Finn, R. L., Wright, D., & Friedewald, M. (2013). Seven types of privacy. In European data protection: coming of age (pp. 3-32). Springer Netherlands.

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