In recent years a worrying trend has become more and more visible. Surveillance practices have increased, with not only governments tracking their citizens (China’s social scoring system) but also with companies using increasingly affordable technology to monitor their workforce and collect their data. Video, tracking software, algorithmic management tools and biometric technologies, coupled with artificial intelligence and facial recognition, are bringing surveillance to potentially unprecedented levels. This raises numerous questions about privacy, workers’ and fundamental rights.

The panel will address these and other questions, present cases of workplace surveillance, as reported by European trade unions and look at the possible risks and consequences of workplace surveillance. It will address the recent €35.3 million fine for data protection violations in the H&M service center, imposed by the Hamburg Commission for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. Importantly, it will examine how fundamental rights can be used by workers and their representatives for better protection.

  • How can we deconstruct the power dynamics of mass and workplace surveillance?
  • Does GDPR article 88 provide sufficient protection, or does it have to be reviewed?
  • What lessons can we learn from recent cases and court decisions, including on fundamental rights?
  • After the €35.3 million H&M fine, what else can workers expect from Data Protection Authorities?


Alexander Fanta (Netzpolitik.org), AT @FantaAlexx


Ella Jakubowska - EDRi, BE; @ellajakubowska1

Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association; @cvoule

Aida Ponce Del Castillo – European Trade Union Institute, BE; @APonceETUI

Birte Dedden – Uni- Europa, BE; @UNI_Europa

Prof. Dr. Johannes Caspar, - Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, DE.


This panel debate is part of the three-day event Computers Privacy and Data Protection 2021 - A changing world