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Rethinking Privacy in Amsterdam

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By Paula J. Bruening, senior counsel for Global Privacy Policy

Last week in Amsterdam, I was privileged to join data protection authorities, industry representatives, advocates and policymakers as they gathered for the 37th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. At the meeting, I released Intel‘s white paper: “Rethink Privacy 2.0: Fair Information Practice Principles Reinterpreted.”  The paper continues the discussion we began in a 2014 document in which we highlight the enduring nature of these principles, and suggest new approaches to their implementation. This new paper further develops Intel’s approach to applying the full complement of fair information practice principles. The FIPPs are critical to the protected, innovative use of data and emerging technologies and the smooth flow of data across borders. The essential theme remains the same:  fair information practice principles can continue to guide the ethical and innovative use of data when applied in a way that is practical and reflects the realities of the emerging data ecosystem.

In the dynamic digital environment we are creating, the fair information practice principle of accountability and implementation of privacy-by-design play important roles. Intel therefore launched its “Rethinking Privacy” paper at an event recognizing the Information Accountability Foundation and its work to develop an approach to assess the ethics of big data analytic processing. IAF’s proposed assessment framework takes into account the expected benefits of an organization’s big data inquiry, the array of stakeholders for whom the processing may pose risks, and the measures that can be taken to mitigate those risks. We believe that this kind of in-depth review of the ethics of big data processing will prove to be a critical tool for companies who want to reap the benefits of big data in a way that is responsible and protects privacy.

The international conference was itself a reminder of the continued importance of fair information practice principles to addressing privacy and protecting data in a diverse world. While the meeting came in the wake of the European Court of Justice’s decision invalidating the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor, the centerpiece of the week’s discussion focused on making connections – specifically the Privacy Bridges project. Privacy Bridges represents an 18 month effort undertaken by 19 experts from the EU and the U.S., and led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam. The project group prepared a report that served as the basis for conference discussions. The report examined practical steps that require no change in law or regulation but whose goal is better-informed, more consistent regulatory cooperation, guidance and enforcement.

Intel believes that fair information practice principles, reinterpreted for emerging technology and data uses, continue to serve as a bridge of its own kind. They provide a fundamental, common language that can facilitate privacy protection and the uninterrupted flow of data across countries and regions of diverse legal and regulatory regimes. We invite you to read our paper and we welcome your feedback, and we look forward to continuing to participate in this important international discussion.