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Profiling the European Citizen

Profiling the European Citizen - An edited volume with cross-disciplinary perspectives

An edited volume with cross-disciplinary perspectives

In the eyes of many, one of the most challenging problems of the information society is that we are faced with an ever expanding mass of information. Selection of the relevant bits of information seems to become more important than the retrieval of data as such: the information is all out there, but what it means and how we should act on it may be one of the big questions of the 21st century. If an information society is a society with an exponential proliferation of data, a knowledge society must be the one that has learned how to cope with this. Profiling technologies seem to be one of the most promising technological means to create order in the chaos of proliferating data.

At the same time, profiling is the enabling technology for smart applications, ubiquitous and autonomic computing and Ambient Intelligence. The social, technical, political and legal implications of this technology, also known as ‘knowledge discovery in data bases’ (KDD) urgently need to be addressed. A new book has been written on the subject of profiling, developing a multi-focal view upon what profiling is, where it is applied and what may be the impact on democracy and rule of law.
Gary T. Marx, Professor Emeritus, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), suggests that this volume ‘includes a variety of disciplinary perspectives thoughtfully brought to a topic of such emerging social and theoretical importance’ highlighting ‘the clarity and logical organization of the presentation including a very helpful glossary’ and ‘the response of critics and the response to them which keep this lively and far from the didactic quality of so many such volumes.’ He notes that ‘the authors are in general highly experienced leaders in their fields with strong track records. There are no current volumes that come even close to this in comprehensiveness, currency and usefulness to a wide array of specialists’.
Professor Charles Raab, University of Edinburgh claims this volume contributes to ‘an important and timely subject. It should have an international appeal, to academics, regulators and interest groups who deal with information  technologies, privacy, surveillance, regulation, philosophy and cognate subjects. It is academic in tone but accessible to non-academics and to non-specialists.’

Profiling the European Citizen is the result of research conducted within the framework of the EU funded FIDIS (Future of Identity of Information Society) NoE (Network of Excellence). It has been edited by Mireille Hildebrandt and Serge Gutwirth of the centre for Law Science Technology and Society studies (LSTS) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Scholars of high standing from across Europe have contributed from a variety of disciplinary approaches, explaining the process of profiling from a technological, social science and legal perspectives. From outside the FIDIS network, professor Roger Brownsword of the Centre of Law, Technology and Ethics in Society (TELOS) of King’s College London has contributed with an in-depth discussion of the potential pitfalls of profiling from the perspective of legal philosophy.

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