The Brussels Privacy Hub (BPH) is an academic research institute that is European in location and global in scope. It concentrates exclusively on data protection and privacy, and is an entity of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB, Free University of Brussels), a leading Belgian university located in central Brussels. The Hub focuses on legal issues, but also incorporates expertise from disciplines such as computer science, economics, philosophy, and sociology, among others.
The Hub is governed by a board of directors comprised of Prof. Paul De Hert and Dr. Christopher Kuner. The work done by the BPH is also informed by input from its advisory board. The members of the advisory board are currently as follows:
Further individuals will be added to the advisory board in due course.
The Hub solicits financial support from foundations, corporations, private donors, international organizations, and public authorities. These relationships are vital to the pursuit of our research, education and public interest goals.
The Hub is committed to full impartiality and independence in our research, as well as intellectual rigour and transparency. The following principles govern our association with funders, in order to preserve the Hub’s intellectual independence.
The Hub does not accept grants that limit or condition its ability to carry out research, and does not undertake research or accept funds at the request of outside organizations unless it is consistent with its research agenda, mission, and overall philosophy. The Hub is transparent about its funding sources.
Donations to the Hub are given as unrestricted gifts. In cases where funding is offered for sponsored research or activities, its terms are set forth in agreements between the donor and the Hub, which include specific guarantees for academic independence. All our agreements with funders are evaluated by the VUB legal department and signed by them (cf. Chair in International and European Data Privacy and Security Law).
These policies apply in addition to the relevant policies of the VUB. The Hub will continue to develop them further as needed to ensure integrity and transparency.
Brussels Privacy Hub activities are made possible mainly through the reliance on the resources of VUB Research group Law Science Technology & Society (LSTS) and the financial support from research projects and private donations. Further financing is obtained directly through training and education activities that generate income. These activities have included, among others: the Summer Academies (formerly Summer School) for Global Privacy Law; the Legal Technologist Programme for specialist lawyers of Deloitte Amsterdam; and the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) / DPO training.
The majority of members of the Brussels Privacy Hub are full or part-time on the payroll of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and its Faculty of Law and Criminology (where they are integrated in the Research group Law Science Technology & Society (LSTS)). The financing obtained through Hub activities and through external financial support can be used to cover fully or partially the salaries of the members of the Brussels Privacy Hub, including the financing of PhD positions; to finance the Hub visiting scholar programme; and to cover the expenses of Hub events (e.g. renting locations; catering; reimburse travel costs of speakers; pay speakers' fees when required). Some members of the Hub are fully supported by research funds of the VUB, via projects obtained through competitive calls (cf. Articulating Law, Technology, Ethics & Politics: Issues of Enforcement and Jurisdiction of EU Data Protection Law under and beyond the GDPR (ALTEP-DP) project, Research Line 2).
Since its founding, the Hub has attracted funding from a variety of sources from both the public and private sectors. Historically the largest private donor has been, and remains, Google. The following have been some of the Hub’s collaborations with outside funders:
Within the project Data Protection in Humanitarian Action, the Brussels Privacy Hub has collaborated with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It has also collaborated with Norwegian Red Cross in the context of the Nyss and the Community-based surveillance (CBS) project.
Since 2016, the Brussels Privacy Symposium, co-organised by the Hub with the Future of Privacy Forum, has received funding from various private-sector entities, including the following: Deutsche Telekom; Microsoft; SAP; TomTom; ITI; Big ID; Mastercard; and OneTrust Privacy. Further information about the sponsors for each Symposium may be found here. The sponsors do not take any role in organization of the programmes for the Symposium, but they can present their materials during coffee breaks.
Privacy Laws & Business media collaborates in certain Hub events considered of interest for the readers of their journal (the Tech Talks and the Enforcing Europe Webinar Series 1).
The Brussels Privacy Hub occasionally media partners and/or co-organises events together with other organisations which have own policies about sponsorship (for example, the Centre for Digitalisation, Democracy and Innovation (CD2I) at VUB-BSoG, the Chair ‘Fundamental Rights and the Digital Transformation’ at VUB-LSTS; the Health and Ageing Law Lab (HALL) at VUB-LSTS; the Cyber and Data Security Lab (CDSL) at VUB-LSTS; the Brussels Laboratory for Data Protection & Privacy Impact Assessments (d.pia.lab) at VUB-LSTS), or within the framework of international projects. In addition, the Brussels Privacy Hub also hosts side events in the course of prominent international conferences about privacy and data protection (e.g. International Conference on Privacy and Data Protection Commissioners; Computer, Privacy and Data Protection conference).
Events of the Brussels Privacy Hub bring together international and national policy makers, regulators, academics, computer scientists, legal practitioners, industry representatives, civil society, consultants and tech journalists. For further information on supporting Hub events, as well as training opportunities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“Brussels is a natural place to come since it is a global hub when it comes to, among others, issues in data protection. In particular, the Brussels Privacy Hub serves as an important venue
for data protection professionals, not just from the EU but from other parts of the world, where
important ideas are discussed and disseminated.”
Professor Haksoo Ko, Visiting Scholar 2016
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