In a time in which new technologies make it easy to gather and process data, the discussion on privacy tends to focus exclusively on the protecting of personal data. Serge Gutwirth believes that privacy involves far more and he advances the thesis that privacy is in fact the safeguard of personal freedom - the safeguard of the individual's freedom to decide who she or he is, what she or he does, and who knows about it. Any restriction on privacy thus means an infringement of personal freedom.
Serge Gutwirth is professor of law at the Free University of Brussels and the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The Rathenau Institute, the Dutch national technology assessment organization, is an independent organization and is one of the institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.