If you work in the data privacy sector, you might have heard of the passing of Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor.

Buttarelli was a long-time champion of privacy regulation for EU citizens and was a key figure in the drafting and implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

However, as well as being known as the ‘godfather of GDPR’, Buttarelli was a great advocate of ethics in the digital economy.

His philosophy was that regulation should be a minimum acceptable standard; best practice in personal data collection, storage and processing should incorporate moral and ethical considerations.

As Buttarelli said in his opening speech at the Public Session of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners 2018, Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life:

not everything that is legally compliant and technically feasible is morally sustainable

We will leave it to Giovanni Buttarelli’s colleagues, friends and family to lead the tributes to the man himself, but if you want to understand some of the moral issues we face in the new digital economy and why ethics is so important, take 30 minutes to watch his speech “Choose Humanity: Putting Dignity back into Digital”

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