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Rethink Privacy 2.0 and Fair Information Practice Principles: A Common Language for Privacy

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By: Paula Bruening

Last week, Mauritius hosted the 36th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. By convening in this island African country, the data protection authorities acknowledged that data protection and privacy are concerns not only of the developed world, but also of emerging economies looking to the promise of data, technology and innovation to address social problems, improve education opportunities, enhance energy distribution, and improve the health and quality of life of citizens. It also highlighted the keen awareness these nations share that the trust of individuals in technology and responsible data use is critical to fulfilling this promise. One plenary session featured speakers representing Mauritius, Burkina Faso, and Asia generally.

I had the privilege of delivering remarks at a conference session titled “Privacy Enhancing Technologies Enhanced. "  I talked about the importance of privacy enhancing technologies to enhance transparency, empower consent and choice, and enable responsible use of big data. But the session also served as an opportunity to launch the next phase of Intel’s Rethink Privacy.

Last year at this same conference of data commissioners, David Hoffman spoke of Intel’s commitment to “rethink” how we apply traditional Fair Information Practice Principles in a way that protects the individual and fosters an innovative, data-driven economy. This year my remarks opened with a video that highlighted the power of data to change for the better lives around the world, powering advances in health care, scientific research, energy management, and disaster relief. But if we are to tap this potential, we must create an environment in which individuals can trust that their data is protected and used responsibly. My comments reinforced how important it is to put in place effective privacy solutions if we are to reap the benefits big data offer. They echoed David’s original call to action – to industry and regulators – to do the hard work of determining how enduring principles of fair information practices can be applied in the technology and data-rich environment where we create, work and live.

The theme of the conference was “A New World Order for Data Protection: Our Dream Coming True?” I would observe that notions of privacy vary across cultures and among individuals. Over time it’s become clear that attempts to impose the privacy sensibilities or protection regimes of one country or region onto another usually meet with frustration. But internationally recognized, fundamental principles of fair information practices continue to provide a common language about data protection and privacy that has served nations, regions, companies and individuals around the world, without demanding a departure from local privacy values. And when there is a privacy or data protection failure, they provide a tool to measure compliance and a means of enforcement.

The challenge lies in understanding how fair information practice principles can be applied in an effective, workable way in the cloud, across the Internet of Things, and for big data analytics. It’s a challenge we must meet. Success depends on the collective effort of companies, policymakers and experts. This is hard work, but if we succeed we can unlock the vast potential data and technology applications promise both at home and around the world. Intel is calling everyone to join in Rethink Privacy 2.0.