Peter de With is a professor of video coding and analysis at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Opinion

Data privacy law is a blessing and a curse for AI research

Leestijd: 3 minuten

Just about everybody reading this should be familiar with the GDPR – AVG in Dutch. This law dictates the rules and methods for storing personal data safely. Since it was put into force about two years ago, it seems a good time to evaluate. How does the GDPR benefit citizens? It turns out to be a two-edged sword.

In surveillance, environmental data recording companies like Google and Cyclomedia in the Netherlands found out that Europe was serious about this issue, which was put into motion by Germany and Switzerland. The citizens of those countries, in particular, signaled at an early stage to local governments and companies that continuous recording of their lives (houses, environment, and so on) shouldn’t be taken for granted. When Google refused to give guarantees on personal data removal, it was barred from further public environment recording in Germany. Nowadays, companies do record but the quality of such pictures is either deteriorated as a solution, or faces and license plates are blurred to prevent individual person tracking.

When the GDPR was adopted in the Netherlands and other countries, the FANG companies had already established their databases and were making billions of dollars on personal data. The main effect of the new regulation is that we have become aware of this. ING Bank and Tomtom, for example, were publicly corrected on re-selling private data to third-party companies to release personal advertising on people depending on their buying and traveling behavior, respectively.

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