For data sovereignty in the digital age
(first draft, 2015-3-19, will be revised and amended)
1. Restoration of human dignity
“The dignity of man is inviolable.” (Paragraph 1 of the German constitution) An essential part of human dignity is the protection of privacy. Not only is our human dignity daily violated by fully unreasonable and illegal surveillance, but it is also a complete and utter infringement of our basic rights. This is not compatible with human dignity and therefore not acceptable. Human dignity has to be restored immediately.
2. Duty of the state
“The dignity of man is inviolable. To respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights is the duty of all governmental authorities.” (The complete paragraph 1 of the German constitution) Our government has totally failed in fulfilling this duty. Not only individual governmental institutions such as intelligence agencies are the real problem, but also governments that tolerate, conceal and support their illegal excesses. Our governments have to act immediately and demonstrate their responsibilty to protect and respect our basic liberties.
In keeping with the tradition of Immanuel Kant’s epochal essay “What Is Enlightment?” we should consider an update for our digital age: Enlightment is people’s emergence from their self-imposed digital immaturity. Who doesn’t take care of their privacy, causes harm to themelves and the general public. Anyone who assumes that they have nothing to hide, doesn’t understand the reality of the situation. Each individual has the civic duty to have digital sovereignty as a basic liberty and a part of their personal human dignity. Additionally, in the digial age data sovereignty has to be a subject on the curriculum in schools.
4. Data gathering requires approval
On principle it has to be outlawed on the part of government authorities that any instances of recording, storing, processing, amassing or selling data without knowledge or agreeement from the person in question must be prevented.
5. Duty to protect data
Any company that collects individual data as part of its business has to ensure the protection of this data. Should any company not be able to comply with this duty, for instance if interfered with by intelligence agencies with superior technology, it will have to announce publicly this failure of protection and state the reasons for this same failure.
6. Terms & Conditions (T&C)
As a matter of principle T&C have to be written concisely, precisely and comprehensibly. Ambiguously expressed and absurdly extensive T&C should be marked as unacceptable and invalid. Any company with invalid T&C will have its business operations banned. Additionally, T&C updates have to be announced publicly as well as expressed concisely, precisely and comprehensibly.
7. Duty of full disclosure
Any agency or authority that records personal data is fully subject to duty of disclosure. On request from any private citizen a clear and fair account has to be given which data has been recorded and from which sources the data has been exploited. That applies in particular to data mining and scoring companies, whose businesses directly impact individuals. False, obsolete or data that effects private citizens has to be deleted.