Responsible digitalisation

Position Paper | Year 2018
Responsible digitalisation
An appeal to governments and companies to which the public can and should contribute
Class of Technical Sciences

The tremendous growth of data collecting and data processing in a digitalised world is forcing governments and companies to develop a strategy to cope with this disruption in a responsible way. Four major issues found this necessity:

  • concern of consumers and governments about the use of personal data;
  • impact and challenges of automation and robotization;
  • risk of unethical use of new technologies;
  • risk of growing inequality

Personal data represent about 75% of all digitally collected and processed data. This percentage increases with the tendency of companies to use such data more and more for personalising their product offer based on their customers’ preferences and habits, for innovation and for conquering new markets. The use of personal data by companies is a commercial advantage, but also a risk: according to a survey of Accenture (2) three quarters of all companies agree that a responsible and safe use of personal data has become a strategically important issue that needs to be taken care of at the highest management levels. Two thirds
of the companies that participated in the survey declared to have appointed a chief data/privacy officer (sometimes named data protection officer) or to have created an equivalent function.

This Position Paper contains a synthesis of recent literature about responsible personal data processing and a challenge of it based upon the experiences and insights of experts from research institutes and companies. Workshops were organised in order to confront positions and views from literature with panels of experts from research institutes and companies.


Available documents


  • Luc Bonte
  • Aimé Heene
  • Paul Verstraeten
  • Yolande Berbers
  • Hugo De Man
  • Jochanan Eynikel
  • Willy Van Overschée
  • Joos Vandewalle