During the final week of October and beginning of November, I attended two privacy events that were set far apart geographically and philosophically: the Data Protection Commissioners Conference in Jerusalem and the ad:tech conference in New York City. The Jerusalem event had a decidedly pro-privacy flavor, while at ad:tech businesses showcased myriad ways for monetizing personal information. Both conferences posed interesting questions about the future of privacy, but as a privacy lawyer I was more interested in learning and observing than engaging in the privacy debates. The events' apparently divergent privacy narratives made me ponder where a privacy lawyer may fit on the privacy continuum between these two great cities.
Earlier today, the European Commission released documents setting out the road map for revision of the European data protection rules, including the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. The strategy is based on the Commission's position that an individual's ability to control his or her information, have access to the information, and modify or delete the information are "essential rights that have to be guaranteed in today's digital world." The Commission set out a strategy on how to protect personal data while reducing barriers for businesses and ensuring free flow of personal data within the European Union.
Last week, we joined privacy regulators, practitioners and industry representatives from around the world in Jerusalem for the 32nd International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. On numerous panels, conference participants engaged in lively discussions about privacy compliance and enforcement as well as the future of privacy in light of evolving consumer expectations and advances in technology that tracks and identifies individuals.