We organised a panel on Using ICT for environmental regulation: Overlaps between privacy and environmental law at Computers, Privacy and Data Protection 2015. The event was funded by the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change and the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at the National University of Ireland Galway.
Chair Raphaël Gellert, Vrije Unversiteit Brussel (BE)
Moderator Rónán Kennedy, National University of Ireland Galway (IE)
Panel Guido Gorgoni, University of Padua (IT), Martina Hennessy, Environmental Protection Agency (IE), Andrew Jackson, An Taisce (IE), Burkhard Schafer, University of Edinburgh (UK)
Environmental regulators are making increasing use of information and communications technology (ICT) for many aspects of their activities. This data is of value to regulators, citizens, and non-governmental organisations. ICT has an important role in surveillance and monitoring. The Commission has assigned it a critical role in order to achieve energy efficiency since 2009. By providing real-time and highly granular information, these may enable cheaper, faster, and better environmental protection. However, this use of technology also creates risks for the privacy of individuals. Whereas these concerns (massive databases, geo-located data, and constant surveillance) have been widely studied in many spheres of government activity, little or no attention has been devoted to this specific field. This panel explores the issues that result, with contributions from lawyers, information systems scholars, non-governmental agencies and environmental regulators. In particular, the panel discussed:
- What is the current state of affairs in the use of ICTs for environmental regulation (e-regulation)?
- What are the overlaps and conflicts in the protection of privacy and the protection of the environment?
- How does this use of ICT conform with the EU’s policy of Responsible Research and Innovation?
- What is the role of ICTs in innovation policies, and in particular for energy efficiency (ICT4EE)?