November 15, 2007

2007 The IAPP And Deloitte & Touche Honor IBM's Harriet Pearson As Privacy Professional Of The Year

The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) today announced that Harriet P. Pearson, CIPP, Vice President, Regulatory Policy and Chief Privacy Officer, IBM Corporation, is the 2007 winner of the IAPP/Deloitte & Touche Vanguard Award.

The IAPP/Deloitte & Touche Vanguard Award honors the privacy professional who best demonstrates outstanding leadership, knowledge and creativity through privacy programs and practices that have a lasting impact on the profession. The IAPP Board of Directors' Executive Committee selects the recipient from a distinguished list of nominated candidates based upon contributions to the privacy field as well as professional accomplishments over the course of an entire career.

"Harriet is one of the most influential and successful pioneers in the privacy profession," said IAPP Board President Kirk M. Herath, CIPP/G, Associate Vice President, Chief Privacy Officer, Associate General Counsel, Nationwide Insurance Companies. "I am honored to recognize Harriet's achievements and leadership on behalf of our membership. Her contributions continue to make their mark as the profession matures and thrives."

"Well-deserved recognition and congratulations to Harriet for her accomplishments on behalf of the privacy profession," said Rena Mears, CIPP, Global and National Leader of Deloitte's Privacy & Data Protection practice. "Harriet has worked diligently and passionately in raising the standards for privacy professionals, and has helped to elevate privacy as a critical and strategic business issue." Mears adds, "It is with great respect that we acknowledge her long contribution to this emerging profession, and her personal contribution to its ongoing development."

Pearson will receive the award during the 2nd Annual IAPP Privacy Dinner, which will be held on December 11 at The Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.

IBM issued the following statement, "As Chief Privacy Officer, Harriet Pearson has been instrumental in charting a course for IBM in this area, while collaborating with privacy leaders in all sectors and innovating information policies and practices that weave privacy into the DNA of business. This is indeed an important recognition by the world's leading organization of privacy professionals of IBM's commitment to trust and data protection."

Throughout her IBM career, Pearson has succeeded in moving privacy into the mainstream of business via a combination of a direct, action-oriented style and the ability to anticipate future social and technology impacts related to information privacy such as in the area of employee health records. Pearson repeatedly has demonstrated exemplary leadership in her high-profile efforts to promote the privacy profession through Congressional testimony and media interviews.

Pearson, who was among a strong field of competitors vying for this year's award, received numerous accolades from nominators for the lasting impact she has made in the profession, including her work to:

  • Initiate and secure approval in 2005 for IBM's commitment not to use genetic information in employment and health insurance coverage decisions;
  • Lead IBM's early and influential commitment in the 1990s to buy online advertising only from Web sites with visible privacy policies;
  • Reduce risk of identity theft by using IBM's purchasing power to drive more than 100 U.S. insurance companies in 2002 to remove Social Security numbers from health insurance cards and other easily viewed documents;
  • Collaborate in 2006 with the Center for Democracy & Technology and leading corporations to develop and promote best practices for the use of radio frequency identification technology.
  • Champion IBM's own invention and market introduction of the privacy-enabling, consumer-controlled "clipped tag," recognized as a top technology innovation of 2006 by the Wall Street Journal.

Pearson, an attorney and former engineer who has worked for IBM for 14 years, was appointed IBM's first Chief Privacy Officer in November 2000. During her tenure, IBM has been recognized as the top trusted business-to-business brand in North America, according to independent consumer research by TRUSTe and the Ponemon Institute. She is responsible for establishing and implanting the company's privacy policies and practices, which affect more than 340,000 employees operating in over 150 countries. Nominators noted that Pearson has become an expert in various privacy disciplines. She has excelled in achieving support at the highest levels within IBM to support the company's commitment to privacy, followed by successful efforts to foster a workforce commitment to those policies and practices.

Pearson's enduring passion and commitment to the profession is evident in her early contributions and involvement in the IAPP, including her service as a founding board member. Recognizing the need to offer government privacy pros a professional credential, Pearson was instrumental in starting the IAPP's Certified Information Privacy Professional/Government (CIPP/G) program, the first publicly available privacy certification for U.S. government privacy officers. Under Pearson's leadership, IBM became the founding grantor of the CIPP/G program when the program launched in March 2005. More recently, Pearson has been an early advocate of a privacy certification focused on information technology. The CIPP/IT program is now under development by the IAPP and is set to launch in the first half of 2008.

In addition to her service as a member of the IAPP's Board of Directors, Pearson also has chaired or served on the board of directors and/or committees of the Center for Information Policy Leadership, Information Technology Industry Council, TRUSTe and the Steering Committee of the Data Security Council of India. She also holds an adjunct appointment at Georgetown University, where she teaches a graduate class on trust, privacy and security.