Privacy Advisor

Notes from the Executive Director

December 1, 2006

The IAPP, in conjunction with the (ISC)2, recently held a well-attended audio conference with leading experts to assess the political changes in Washington after the election last month and what the changing political landscape means for privacy and security legislation.

At the end of the 90-minute discussion, one thing was clear: even the experts don't agree on what potential action is likely under Democratic control in Congress. The opinions ranged from no legislation to relatively quick action on federal breach notification and pretexting bills.

While it is unclear what privacy- and security-related action the 110th Congress will take in the new session that starts in January, a look back at 2006 indicates a continuing trend toward states filling the vacuum in the absence of federal legislation. Despite much debate around the issues of pretexting and the need for a federal standard on breach notification that would supersede the patchwork of state laws, Congress ultimately did not take action in these areas in 2006. After a call by Microsoft to renew the debate on the need for comprehensive federal privacy legislation, another year has come and gone with little substantive progress on that front.

It is too early at this juncture to know what Congress may do in the area of privacy and security legislation. However, what is clear is that the current state of privacy laws on the state and federal levels means that there is much work for privacy professionals in 2007 and beyond. The New Year will be nothing if not an interesting one for all of us.

The changing political winds and the impact on potential legislation that affects our profession makes the IAPP Privacy Summit 07 in Washington, D.C., an especially timely event for privacy pros. Scheduled for March 7-9 at the Renaissance Hotel, the Summit will offer the latest updates on the questions swirling now about how privacy and security legislation may affect businesses and consumers alike. We look forward to sharing more programming details with you early in 2007.

Let me close by offering my most sincere thanks to all of you in the privacy community for your continued support and enthusiasm for the IAPP and our mission. We are eagerly looking forward to serving you in 2007 with the education, networking and certification needs at all levels of proficiency, to meet the diverse needs of our growing ranks.

We wish you and your family Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year!

J. Trevor Hughes, CIPP
Executive Director, IAPP