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Photo: OSCE/Thomas Rymer

European ‘smart’ surveillance: What’s at stake for data protection, privacy and non-discrimination?

Mathias VermeulenRocco Bellanova
Journal07 April 2013

This article tackles the rise of smart surveillance in the European Union (EU). It introduces some of the main characteristic of smart surveillance systems, and it analyses two sets of projects: a series of eu-funded research projects on smart CCTV systems, and a legislative proposal to set up a eu-wide security measure relying on passenger information. The article identifies the most important features of these projects, and assesses their potential impact in terms of privacy, data protection and non-discrimination. Finally, in the conclusion we advance some observations regarding the peculiarity of smart surveillance when compared to mass or targeted surveillance. We acknowledge that while smart surveillance can be ‘smart’ from a privacy and data protection perspective, this does not mean that no discrimination concerns arise anymore.

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