Workshop: Security, Surveillance and proportionality

The concept of proportionality plays a central role in discussions of the moral permissibility of actions in the domain of security, e.g. in relation to the use of surveillance technology and in relation to potentially intrusive ways of collecting data. Historically, the concept has been widely discussed in both philosophical and legal studies and is central to especially ethical theories of punishment and war. In the present setting and quite roughly, proportionality involves an adequate balance between the expected relevant harms or wrongdoings caused, e.g. in terms of infringement or violation of the right to privacy, on the one hand, and the seriousness of the threat averted, on the other hand. Besides this basic and somewhat simplistic understanding of proportionality, in general it is not clear how one should interpret and understand proportionality, e.g., when exactly is the good achieved proportionate to the bad involved, or if it makes sense to strive for a proportionate security conduct at all. In this workshop, a handful of the leading scholars on proportionality and related issues will discuss its role in surveillance and security issues. The scope of the workshop is to shine some more light on the meaning of the concept of proportionality when it is applied in order to morally justify actions in the security domain i.e., when using new surveillance technologies.


 9:00-9:30          Welcome: Coffee and registration

 9:30-10:30          Surveillance and Proportionality: Preliminary conceptual and moral considerations

Jesper RybergProfessor at the Department of Philosophy, Roskilde University.

10:30-10:45      Break

10:45-11:45        Equality and Proportionality: The challenges for justice in security

Annabelle Lever, Associate Professor of Normative Political Theory, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Geneva

11:45-12:30      Lunch in Faculty Lounge

12:30-13:30        Bulk Collection without the whole haystack

Tom Sorell, Professor at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of  Warwick

13:30-13:45      Break

13:45-14:45        Does ‘technology made me do it’ prove genuine necessity? Tackling the inevitability of modern surveillance in European law  

Gloria Gonzalez-Fuster, Research Professor at Vrije Universiteit, The research group on Law, Science, Technology and Society

14:45-15:00      Coffee and Cake

15:00-16:00        Digital sovereignty as governance

J. Peter Burgess, Professor and Chair of Geopolitics of Risk at the  Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris and at the Centre for Advanced Security Theory (CAST), University of Copenhagen

The workshop is organised by NordSTEVA’s working group, Law & Ethics and CAST.

Please sign up by sending an e-mail to Kira Vrist Rønn no later than the 1st of November.