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16.06.2017

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Nowadays, the development context would be quite inconceivable without the collection and use of large sets of data. This also raises the question how such data should be handled and protected. Our author insists that the same standards have to apply in the North and in the South.

The right to privacy is a human right which was first enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1946 and reiterated in the International UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1966. Privacy is therefore not merely a “first-world problem” (Kate McKee) although there are cultural differences of what people around the world consider to be private information. Furthermore, it is not just privacy that is at stake today in an increasingly digitised environment: since more and more personal data are collected in cities as well as in the rural context, the question is: who is in charge of these data collections, and does the individual citizen, consumer or farmer have any chance to learn about the processing of his data, let alone to control this processing? It would certainly be true to say that farmers in Africa have different and bigger problems than protecting their data. At the same time this statement is somewhat patronising in view of the guarantees on data protection which people in developed countries enjoy.

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