This year’s opening keynote speeches on day two of the International Association of Privacy Professionals Global Privacy Summit in Washington DC were by Tristan Harris and JD Vance.
It’s possible that you haven’t heard of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). However, it is likely that the ITU affects your life in some way. The ITU is the UN agency responsible for information and communication technology. One of their key functions is standard-setting. They set the technical standards that make it possible to send a text message to an overseas phone without having to get some kind of complex adaptor; they also help to assign satellite orbits so that you don’t get abrupt service interruption from two (or more) satellites crashing into one another.
The International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners has been meeting each year since 1979. It has evolved into a reasonably structured format, governed by a five-member Executive Committee consisting of the current year’s host, the previous year’s host, and three elected members.
Privacy authorities typically perform regulatory and enforcement functions on their own - or occasionally with another public body - within their domestic jurisdiction. They know the domestic law they enforce. The law will clearly lay out the authority’s role and provide a clear pathway to the intended outcomes.
When I took up the job in February last year, I was pretty familiar with the legal and policy issues around privacy, and I knew a fair bit about complaints. One area that I hadn’t had so much experience with was international engagement. But this has long been important and will be a very prominent feature of the Office’s focus in 2015.