PANELFIT – Innovation without Compromise

Foto: Jon Moore

How to be innovative, compliant with data protection and ethical

The regulation of personal data has been radically transformed in recent years, with the introduction of several new pieces of legislation, including the GDPR. This has meant an upheaval of prior work routines with regard to collecting, processing and storing personal data.

The new regulations seek to establish a balance between safeguarding the data protection rights of citizens, while at the same time enabling innovative uses of Information and communications technology (ICT) tools.

Risk and intentions

But even if the rules are simple and clear, adapting to a new regulatory regime can be time and resource consuming.

Data protection rules are complex, not easily understood and can be hard to put into practice. In addition, given the novelty of the regime, accessible and actionable guidance on how to comply are few and far between.

This is particularly an issue for small and medium-sized enterprises SMEs and researchers, for whom resources are often very scarce.

It creates risks over-implementation because of misinterpretations or fear of fines, which stifles innovation and growth. At the same time, resignation and consequent under-implementation because compliance is too complicated or resource-heavy, means that data subjects are not afforded better protection of their rights.

Both of these are very real risks, and they run counter to the intentions behind the regulation.

Compliance guidelines

PANELFIT aims to make compliance with data protection regulations accessible and manageable for researchers and SMEs working with ICT, as well as doing so in an ethically responsible way. To this end PANELFIT will develop a comprehensive set of guidelines with overview of relevant legislation and actionable suggestions for how to deal with common scenarios and what to be aware of when utilizing a number of novel technologies.

In addition, PANELFIT will develop a Code of Conduct for Responsible Research and Innovation, which will serve as a day-to-day ethical assessment tool, for researchers and SMEs. It will be comprised of a set of basic ethical standards and guidelines.

CO-creation as a method

PANELFIT makes use of a co-creation approach, where the very people who the outcomes are intended for, are also involved in developing them. This helps ensure that the outcomes are relevant to the target groups, that they contain useful information and are easily put into practice.

In addition, stakeholders are also involved to ensure that the most important issues are covered, and that the advice and legal basis hereof is accurate.

Responsible growth available to the consumer

There is a growing realization that there is a substantial market for products and services that respect the privacy of users and data subjects. PANELFIT will help researchers and SMEs cater to this market, by putting compliant and ethical innovation more easily within reach, thus creating better products for consumers and in turn stimulate, not just growth, but responsible growth.

In addition, the outcomes PANELFIT will make it easier for researchers and SMEs to live up to their own good intentions with regard to data protection and privacy, reducing the risk of over- and under-implementation.

This in turn will stimulate a development towards improving the enforcement of data protection regulations and thus the privacy and rights of European citizens.

In short, PANELFIT will help improve protection of European citzens’ data and privacy by making compliance manageable, while stimulating innovation and growth.