Project Sponsors
European Union under the 7th Framework Programme

Final conference

Citizens’ Perspectives on Surveillance, Security and Privacy: Controversies, Alternatives and Solutions

Joint conference of SurPRISE, PRISMS and PACT
13th-14th November 2014, Vienna

An international conference was arranged jointly with the EU FP7 research projects PACT and SurPRISE and was held on the 13-14.11.2014 in Vienna. This event enabled the target groups to discuss the outcomes, results, conclusions, methods and recommendations of these projects. The conference was specifically aimed at policy-makers, members of national and the European Parliament, representatives from the industry, law enforcement end users and representatives from the Commission and national bodies responsible for shaping security technology and policy programmes.


Recent revelations of mass surveillance programmes clearly demonstrate the ever-increasing capabilities of surveillance technologies. The lack of serious reactions to these activities shows that the political will to implement them appears to be an unbroken trend. The resulting move into a surveillance society is, however, contested for many reasons. Are the resulting infringements of privacy and other human rights compatible with democratic societies? Is security necessarily depending on surveillance? Are there alternative ways to frame security? Do surveillance technologies address the most pressing security needs, and if yes, are they the most efficient means to do so? Is it possible to gain in security by giving up civil liberties, or is it even necessary to do so? Do citizens adopt this trade-off and, if yes, are they willing to enter into this trade?

Three FP7 Security Research projects have addressed these and related questions, putting the perspective of European citizens in the very centre of the research focus. Major aims are to better understand the relation between surveillance, security and privacy, to inform policymaking and to support decision making with the gained insights. The revelation of practically unlimited surveillance activities of the NSA by Snowden, the rejection of the Data Retention Directive by the European Court of Justice or the recently adopted Opinion on Ethics of Security and Surveillance Technologies by the European Group on Ethics (EGE) are unambiguous signals that such decisions are urgently needed.

Conference committee

Johann Čas, Walter Peissl (SurPRISE, Institute of Technology Assessment, Austrian Academy of Sciences), Michael Friedewald, Jana Weitkamp, Kerstin Goos (PRISMS, Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung ISI), Vicky Ackx, Peter J. Burgess, Rocco Bellanova, Elida Jacobsen (PACT, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO))

Presentations from the Conference