As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of interesting and productive activities, conversations, interactions, networking, and educational workshops at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Privacy Academy 2013 here in Seattle, WA that I could report on. However, I think one of the significant takeaways that is the most worthy to share with everyone this week relates to some of the remarks made to Academy attendees during the 2013 Privacy Dinner & Awards Ceremony by the Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
AG Ferguson shared with IAPP members that the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has been actively monitoring data privacy and security trends in recent years and is proactively focused on consumer protection and enforcement matters. As well, many state AGs want to help “level the playing field” between businesses that are following good data privacy and protection practices and those that are not by active enforcement of existing laws on this subject. The state AGs are also deeply interested in executing and supporting outreach initiatives to proactively educate the public about how they can protect their personal information. This includes supporting programs initiated by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) like Stop | Think | Connect. AG Ferguson mentioned that one of NAAG’s primary initiative topics for 2013 is “Privacy in the Digital Age”.
As well, AG Ferguson shared that the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) is also extremely focused on the topic of data privacy and protection as this topic has been selected as a CWAG Chair Initiative. In fact, CWAG is also convening a Data Security & Privacy Conference this week in Maui, HI to discuss the following topics:
· Collecting Data for Government Use and Its Limits
· Managing State Data Risks
· Round Table Discussion – Future of Consumer Privacy
· Managing Cyber Security Risks
· ID Theft
· Data Privacy and Protection in the Public Sector
What all of this indicates to me is that many states throughout the U.S. are deeply interested in the topic of data privacy and security, and that we can expect them to begin to encourage the passage of new and more stringent laws to protect the privacy rights of citizens and consumers – especially if we don’t see meaningful privacy legislation pass in the U.S. Congress in the next 18 months. This will then create a “patch-work” of state laws that will require more robust compliance and risk management programs for entities that have a multi-state footprint. In turn, this will create increased demand for solutions like AvePoint Compliance Guardian to help establish a stronger data privacy and protection compliance posture within the U.S. market. Essentially, the proverbial “writing on the wall” is here. The prudent organization will plan and act on this trend accordingly, and AvePoint is in a superb position to help.