Asking Big Questions at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2014

Post Date: 03/12/2014
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I’ve just returned from a week at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit in Washington DC, and what a week it was!  For me the biggest surprise about the event was exactly how truly “global” it was.  As a European Union (EU) privacy specialist, I was looking forward to catching up with US colleagues and trends, but I truly did not expect to see the EMEA so well represented, and found myself talking to representatives of many global businesses, including a large amount based in the EU. European privacy was high on the agenda, with the new regulations and directives being discussed, among many other hot topics such as wearable technology, internet of things, and the cloud. The point from the keynote speech by IAPP CEO Trevor Hughes that really grabbed me, was that privacy is a relatively new profession, and that it is our actions in defence of privacy that will dictate the future.  It is a privilege for me to be in this industry at this time, where the big questions are asked, and we can shape approaches to privacy for generations to come, including those who will never know what life was like before Microsoft, Google, Facebook, mobile phones, laptops, or controversial topics like internet surveillance. My personal highlight of the event was to get some time with the United Kingdom Information Commissioner Christopher Graham to demonstrate and showcase the AvePoint Privacy Impact Assessment (APIA) system to him.  APIA is AvePoint’s new free privacy impact assessment (PIA) tool, announced during Hughes’ keynote speech.  It was genuinely amazing to see the community’s response to this new technology which will allow them to automate and network the once time-consuming PIA process. Many attendees I spoke with wondered if there was a “catch” to this free tool. I think the world is now so full of “apps for Personal data” or “adware” or “in app purchases”, that some couldn’t believe that a commercial company was giving something back and distributing the tool through IAPP for free without even capturing the details of those who download it!  I was able to assure them that there is no catch here, and that we’re just trying to help. Of course, we also had AvePoint Compliance Guardian on display and this received no less attention from the delegates. They were all keen to look across their enterprise of unstructured data and be able to identify the key sensitive data types, get assurance on compliance, and be able to tag and control their enterprise data. Overall, my week in DC was truly successful. I had many useful conversations with privacy professionals from around the globe, and the event was a great setting to have them in!

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