Balancing privacy and transparency to promote freedom online

10 November 2015 - A Workshop on Other in João Pessoa, Brazil


The Session seeks to stimulate debate on how to balance privacy and transparency in the context of protecting online freedom of expression. Free expression includes freedom of information, which in turn has a bearing on the issue of transparency – which is often a condition for the public to access particular information. Transparency in turn, however, articulates directly with privacy in regard to the collection, storage, analysis and sharing of personal data. This is particularly relevant to the digital age, and is a different issue to the historical focus on transparency as applied to governments and corporations as an antidote to corruption. UNESCO takes this opportunity to present the major research findings it has commissioned on the subject. Firstly, the session will examine those national regimes on data protection which place conditions on the collection, use and storage of personal data and are directly relevant to the protection of privacy on the Internet. Secondly, the session will also address the new challenges that in the digital age, the traditional way of applying FOI laws to public data and data protection laws to personal data need to be updated as a vast mixture of both personal and public data is collected, stored, processed and shared via the Internet, with the border between the public and private domains being blurred. The Session will eventually develop policy recommendations on how to ensure sufficient safeguards in the online environment so as to ensure a balance of privacy and transparency as a dimension of the right to information.

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