Stating that with the digitalizing world the age of global surveillance has begun, Prof. Dr. John A.E. Vervaele, president of the International Criminal Law Association added "We are all being followed, we are being watched".
An international symposium on "Current Issues on the Protection of Personal Data in European and Turkish Law" organized by Yeditepe University Law School, the Law Club and the Istanbul Bar Association took place at the University’s 26 Auğustos campus on 2-3 December.
The Symposium hosted renowned names in the field like Istanbul Bar Association Board Member Prof. Dr. Serap Keskin Kiziroğlu, President of International Criminal Law Association Prof. Dr. John A.E. Vervaele, director of the Corporate Law Institute of the University of Mannheim Prof. Dr. Friedemann Kainer, Dr. Marc Engelhart from Comparative and International Criminal Law at the Max Planck Institute, Dr. Elif Kiesow Cortez from The Hague University and Dr. Gavin Robinson from the Luxembourg Institute.
At the symposium attended by approximately 1000 participants current issues like "Personal Information and Big Data on the Internet", "Consent for the Protection of Personal Data", "The Protection of Personal Data in relation to Monitoring of Public Areas Open to the Public by Legal Entities for Preventive Purposes by Video Cameras "," Criminal Proceedings of Data Obtained by Methods of Intelligence”.
“We are all being monitored”
Speaking at the symposium, Prof. Dr. Vervaele, President of the International Association of Criminal Law, said that with the digital world, we entered a much more holistic surveillance system, reminiscent of the years before the classical data collection process. Vervaele said, "We are all being monitored, being watched. The age of global surveillance has begun". Stating that data is being collected in the digital world without regarding our privacy, Prof. Dr. Vervaele also pointed to the cookies on our computers and smartphones. Verveale said, "A person's identity can be created and his/her behavior predicted with the data obtained via cookies". Vervaele asked "How is this related to penal law?" and continued:
"Thanks to the digital world, all the data of individuals can be accessed. The possibility of risk before a crime is committed is being assessed."
Explaining that this gives rise to conflicting problems in the monitoring, prevention and risk assessment of the crime, Vervaele pointed out that the risk assessment was a very wide issue and court practices were insufficient. Istanbul Bar Association Board Member Prof. Dr. Serap Keskin Kiziroğlu also stated that the Istanbul Bar Association is concentrating all its attention on this area.
"The Digitalization of the World has Contributed to the Problem"
Yeditepe University Rector Prof. Dr. Canan Aykut Bingöl pointed out that the digitalization of the world has contributed to the problems of preservation of personal data; they want us to share personal data even while trying to do any banking transactions. Prof. Dr. Bingöl continued: "We give consent to this because it is a computer. We give everyone our personal data. However, what are our rights here? And how do we protect ourselves in this digitizing world? "
Dean of the Faculty of Law Prof. Dr. Sultan Tahmazoğlu Üzeltürk also mentioned that the issue of protecting personal data with international agreements has been discussed in our country for a long time and that discussions about the protection of personal data in the year 2000 gained momentum but they have only reached a legal ground in 2016.