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Fair Information Practice Principles: A Common Language for Privacy in a Diverse Data Environment

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By: Paula Bruening

Today, Intel is pleased to join governments, companies, experts and advocates in marking Data Privacy Day, a day designed to raise awareness, and to promote privacy and data protection best practices. First observed in 2007, it is currently celebrated in the United States, Canada, and 47 European countries.

The centerpiece of today’s events is a real time, transatlantic discussion hosted by Giovanni Buttarellli, European Data Protection Commissioner in Brussels, and by the National Cyber Security Alliance in Washington.  The title for that discussion, “Developing a Sustainable ‘Big Data’ Ecosystem – Diverse Approaches to the Privacy Economy,” highlights the urgent need to identify and implement workable, effective protections in a data ecosystem characterized by diverse sensibilities about privacy and varied approaches to protecting it.

This international discussion comes as increasingly businesses, governments, educational, research and health care institutions around the world recognize the potential of emerging technologies and data to promote innovation and to address some of society’s most pressing issues.  The ability to access data – locally and internationally – for research and collaboration is essential to unlock that power. To realize the benefits, it is essential that data is available for appropriate uses, and that at all times privacy is protected.

Privacy norms and expectations vary across cultures.  Law and regulation to protect data and individual privacy differ to reflect those expectations and local legal traditions.  Keeping data flows protected and open requires that we identify and build upon commonalities, and work across differences to protect data.

Traditional notions of fair information practices bridge differing approaches to privacy protection by serving as a common language for privacy.  As articulated by the Organization for Cooperation and Development in 1980, they have formed the foundation for international agreements, law, regulations, codes of conduct and industry best practices and a basis for cross-border enforcement. And they have done so over a period of transformation technological change. Intel believes in their continued relevance and their workability as we create new opportunities for technology innovation and identify exciting, beneficial uses for data.  There will always be differences, but using the FIPPs as the foundation we can develop protections that are recognized across diverse cultures and legal traditions.  In doing so, we create our best chance that our commonly-shared values about data protection and privacy will empower us change the world for the better.