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Introducing Privacy-Protective Surveillance: Achieving Privacy and Effective Counter-Terrorism

This paper introduces the concept of Privacy-Protective Surveillance (PPS) – a positive-sum, “win-win” alternative to current counter-terrorism surveillance systems – and proposes a methodology for its implementation within the framework of Privacy by Design. Section 1 discusses the current context of counter-terrorism surveillance and presents the need for an alternative solution. Section 2 introduces the objectives and functionality of PPS, showing its relevance to the private sector and distinguishing its data analytics from others. Section 3 describes the feature detection abilities of the intelligent virtual agents used by PPS. Section 4 presents homomorphic encryption within the context of PPS’s analytics. Section 5 describes PPS’s ability to contextualize information through the use of probabilistic graphical models. Section 6 presents the two main phases of PPS in terms of its development and implementation. Section 7 highlights the main issues addressed by PPS and calls for the involvement of additional stakeholders to work towards refining and implementing its proposed methodology.


Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D.
Information and Privacy Commissioner
Ontario, Canada

Khaled El Emam, Ph.D.
Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information
University of Ottawa