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D7.4: Implications of profiling practices on democracy

Conclusions  Title:
 Hildebrandt, Gutwirth & De Hert: what is at stake?



In the foregoing texts a challenging debate has been initiated on some of the more fundamental questions around profiling, democracy and rule of law. Such ‘Big Questions’ can of course easily be put aside as too big or too theoretical. It may also be more comfortable to concentrate one’s effort on more practical policy oriented research issues, delivering evidence-based scientific argumentations referring to empirical data that seem to confirm one’s conclusions. Apart from the controversial status of much ‘evidence based’ scientific advice, we believe that some of the central questions our information society is faced with, cannot be dealt with at that level. For instance, to investigate the impact of profiling practices on ipse-identity and to then seek the relationship between such an impact and the workings of our constitutional democracy we need a framework to understand what ipse-identity is and in what way it is preconditional for democracy and rule of law. These are not things you can empirically determine, because, as we know since Popper, our perception is always colored by theory. Which is not to say – of course – that we can change our perception at will by throwing in some new theory or other. It does mean that theoretical reflection in the end may have greater practical impact than working within the confines of established categories: nothing more practical than good theory.


Below the editors – who are also the authors of chapters and - will summarise the arguments put forward above. While an objective summary is intented, the conclusions do contain space for a reply to the replies. As indicated in section of this deliverable (the general introduction), the debate that has been initiated above discloses a pertinent need for further discussion of the fundamental issues, to nourish the more practical debates.



Conclusions  fidis-wp7-del7.4.implication_profiling_practices_03.sxw  Hildebrandt, Gutwirth & De Hert: what is at stake?
Denis Royer 38 / 45