Security or data protection: A false contradiction?
A Good American Poser
Film screening of »A Good American« and discussion
Fri, December 16, 2016 3 pm CET, Film Screening

In discussions about public security – especially immediately after a terrorist attack – data protection is often depicted as unnecessary ballast or even as an obstacle for intelligence services that makes their effective operation impossible. But data protection deals with the protection of civil and human rights, the defence of which is actually the central task of the intelligence services. How do the intelligence services deal with this conflict of objectives? Do we have to decide between security on one hand and data protection on the other?

The film »A Good American« by Austrian director Friedrich Moser makes an important contribution to the discussion of these questions. The film is about William Binney, who was an analyst of the National Security Agency (NSA) for thirty years and was employed most recently as the Technical Director and Head Developer of a data analysis programme called »ThinThread«. In contrast to today’s mass surveillance, Binney’s concept of data analysis is based on a reduction to just the few data categories that are really critical (»less is more«). On one hand, this ensures that the analysts do not drown in a flood of data, allowing them to see through the trees to the wood. On the other hand, the principle of data economy can be realised using this approach. Although the programme was able to provide guidance to potential terrorist activities in real-time using minimal data, NSA chiefs prevented the implementation of the concept.

The film »A Good American« serves as a starting point for a discussion about the role of the intelligence services in defending our values and about the charged relationship between security and data protection. As well as the director of the film, recognised experts on legal and technical issues of security and data protection are also invited. Due to the given timeframe, the event will act more as a starting point than an endpoint of this discussion. However, a special concept makes it possible to continue this discussion even after the end of the event. As it seems necessary to deal with this topic specifically in the public sphere, entrance to this event is free of charge and open to both experts and all interested parties.



3 pm:

 Welcome and introduction to the subject by Ernst O. Wilhelm

(event manager) and Friedrich Moser (director of »A Good American«)

3.10 pm:Start of »A Good American«
4.50 pm:

Keynote speech: »Surveillance in compliance with data protection?«

(Prof. Dr. Heckmann, DGRI)

5.05 pm:

Panel discussion with Prof. Bernhard Esslinger (CrypTool Project),

Prof. Dr. Heckmann (DGRI), Prof. Peter Weibel (ZKM),

director Friedrich Moser and moderator Ernst O. Wilhelm

5.35 pm:World Coffee Break - interactive coffee break, Dr. Düpmeier (GI)
6.05 pm:

In-depth lecture: »What can I do MYSELF?«

by Prof. Bernhard Esslinger (CrypTool Project)

6.35 pm:Data protection short story competition, Tobias Wengert (Dragon Days)
6.45 pm:Closing speech by Ernst O. Wilhelm (event manager)
7 pm:End of the event


Initiators of the event / event management:

Ernst O. Wilhelm works as the Chief Privacy Officer for GFT Technologies SE and is active in the Data Protection and Computer Science Community on both a national and international level. Among others, he is a member of the German Chapter of the ACM (GChACM) and the Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI - Society for Computer Science) and works in the »Data protection and IT security« steering committee taskforce. Furthermore, he is a member of the Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit (GDD - Society for Data Protection and Data Security) and is active in the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

Partner der Veranstaltung

blue+green communication, Drop-Out Cinema eG, DGRI (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Recht und Informatik e.V.), German Chapter of the ACM, GDD (Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit e.V.), IAPP (International Association of Privacy Professionals), CrypTool Project, Karlsruher Sicherheitsinitiative, Dragon Days



Key topics