Giovanni Buttarelli, 1957-2019
August 21, 2019
Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the recipient of the 2019 EPIC Champion of Freedom Award, has passed. He was 62. "We are all profoundly saddened by this tragic loss of such a kind and brilliant individual. Throughout his life Giovanni dedicated himself completely to his family, to the service of the judiciary and the European Union and its values," Buttarelli's office said in a statement. Buttarelli led efforts in the European Union and around the world to establish privacy as a fundamental human right. At the 2018 privacy commissioners conference in Brussels, he spoke about the need to place humanity at the forefront of the digital society. Buttarelli said "we need to establish a sustainable ethics for a digital society." Buttarelli was also one of the first signatories of the Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence, a framework for AI governance based on the protection of human rights. At the 2019 EPIC Champion of Freedom Awards event in Brussels, Shoshana Zuboff (11:30) said “Giovanni has lifted our sights . . . to the essence of the quality of the information society that will be our true legacy . . .” Buttarelli remarks (16:45).