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Prospecting for privacy gold in Australia Riki Jamieson-Smyth
24 November 2014

Alasdair Wallace You and all your Friends

A few of us were fortunate enough to join our privacy colleagues last week at the International Association of Privacy Professionals Australia New Zealand Summit (iappANZ) in Sydney. It is an annual forum for privacy professionals from around Australasia, and this year featured speakers from United States, Japan, Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards received a hat tip from Australia’s longest serving judge, the Honourable Michael Kirby. During the first item of business at the summit - the awarding of the iappANZ writing prize - John was given an honourable mention for an abridged version of his Nethui 2014 ‘Right to be Forgotten’ keynote speech. You can find the speech here on our website.

Among the highlights were Australia’s Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, speaking about the situation over there. Timothy was eloquent about the recent determinations from his office, as well as recent commissioner-initiated investigations and the launch of the regulatory action policy. There is more information to be found on the OAIC website.

Larry Irving, a principal advisor to the Clinton administration on telecommunications and internet policy and CEO of the Irving Group, spoke on Privacy in an Era of Mobility. He noted people were increasingly interested in privacy but their concerns became less important when they thought they were getting something for free. He says big data equals big money and it is time for us to think carefully about who or what we are giving our information to. You can follow Larry on Twitter.

Dr Libby Morris talked about shared health care records in Scotland. The Scottish system focuses on consultation at a ground roots level and it seems to have been a encouragingly successful. Our report on New Zealand trials of using shared health records is also available on our website.

Stephen Deadman, a senior privacy officer and legal adviser at Vodafone, was next. He entertained us with the theme Personal Data Disrupted – why new business models will shake up the privacy landscape. His message was privacy had emerged from something of a ‘legal backwater’ to becoming a sensitive and high profile public issue. Stephen believes consumers are starting to realise if something is free, it was they who are the product and they increasingly look for companies which put the public’s best interests first.

A special mention goes to Dr Zainal Abidin Sait, the Deputy Director General of the Personal Data Protection Department in Malaysia, for his funny and human comments on the development of privacy policy in a nation not used to protection of personal information. He says everyday feels like Monday in his department because they are starting out. Their Act only recently came into force and his office has a lot of work to do convincing people it is a good idea. There’s more info here.

We spent Tuesday with the policy and investigations teams at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. They were charming and thoughtful hosts and it was illuminating spending time with fellow privacy nerds. There is a lot of common ground and it was reassuring to realise we are also doing good work over here.

We were invited the next day by the NSW Privacy Commissioner, Dr Elizabeth Coombs, to speak at the NSW Privacy Practitioners Network, at Sydney’s Parliament House. Our Assistant Commissioner Katrine Evans engaged the crowd with a New Zealand update and I was given ten minutes to discuss alternative dispute resolution (you can read my blog post here).

The NSW Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Tydd, shared this mesmerising video How will the World be in 2020? It’s been around for a while but I recommend it.

I bought a tea towel for my mum at Paddington market, got a selfie at the Opera House, and, most importantly, it is inspiring to know our cousins in Australia are taking privacy as seriously as we are.

(Image provided by iappANZ titled You and all your friends by artist Alasdair Wallace)

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  • I also attended the iappANZ Summit and I am glad I made the trip - plenty of best practice tips, robust debates on the right to be forgotten/Internet of things/where is privacy going and do individuals care, regulator insights (including Katrine Evans, Assistant Commissioner) as well as big business insights (including Facebook, Telstra, Vodafone) - and much more. It was also a great opportunity to meet other privacy professionals who are keen to share experiences and their knowledge.

    If you are a privacy professional - consider joining iappANZ. Have a look at their website www.iappanz.org.

    Posted by Katherine Gibson, 25/11/2014 12:16pm (3 years ago)

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    The aim of the Office of Privacy Commissioner’s blog is to provide a space for people to interact with the content posted. We reserve the right to moderate all comments. We will not publish any content that is abusive, defamatory or is obviously commercial. We ask for your email address so that we can contact you if necessary to clarify your comment. Please be respectful of authors and others leaving comments.

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The aim of the Office of Privacy Commissioner’s blog is to provide a space for people to interact with the content posted. We reserve the right to moderate all comments. We will not publish any content that is abusive, defamatory or is obviously commercial. We ask for your email address so that we can contact you if necessary to clarify your comment. Please be respectful of authors and others leaving comments.

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