At Global Pulse, we are advocates for robust data protection and privacy practices, and as the resident Privacy Officer, I was keen to see what would come out of the IAPP Global Privacy Summit, which took place last week in Washington DC. The summit featured privacy commissioners, chief privacy officers from major corporations, experts, and academics from around the globe, and privacy in big data was one of the most heavily discussed topics.
A significant portion of the conversation focused on how companies can structure their business models to leverage the collection and use of big data while conducting best privacy practices and fostering public trust. Unsurprisingly, issues related to cybersecurity were also widely covered throughout the day. Much attention was directed towards the newly established relationship between the US and EU trans-border data flows. Right on the edge of the Summit, the US and EU announced a joint agreement between G29 and APEC countries aiming to aid companies in achieving compliance with global data transfers. This followed a review of the “Safe Harbor” agreement that was announced by EU Commissioner Viviane Reding in Jan 2014, following growing concerns about the collection of citizens’ data by intelligence services.
As Dr. Kristopher Kuner has recently noted in his article, countries around the world are struggling to decide which approach to adopt. The comprehensive approach (one-size fits all) has been criticized for being too prescriptive, while many have asked whether the US sectoral approach is too loose giving too much space for self-regulation. One of the points frequently raised during the summit discussion, was that a restrictive approach to regulating the rapidly emerging technology field might slow down innovation. The law cannot simply keep up with the ever-changing technological solutions and types of information that is being created.
Mila Romanoff is UN Global Pulse’s Legal Specialist & Privacy Officer
Image: Global Privacy Summit session by M Romanoff (left to right: Omar Tene, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Christopher Graham and Jacob Kohnstamm)