Privacy Advisor

Notes From the Executive Director

October 1, 2007

At the Nexus of Privacy

Last month, IAPP membership soared beyond 4,000 members - a milestone as we prepare this month to host more than 800 privacy pros during the IAPP Privacy Academy 2007 in San Francisco. As the IAPP establishes itself as the leading association for privacy professionals globally, our membership continues to experience phenomenal growth. By the end of this year, the IAPP will have experienced a 41 percent growth rate over the previous year.

The numbers tell the empirical story of the draw of the IAPP for privacy pros who live and work in 32 countries. But nothing demonstrates the value of the IAPP more than a face-to-face encounter with a privacy pro eager to learn more about how we serve the privacy profession, followed by an emphatic plea for the IAPP to offer education, certification and networking opportunities in their country.

That's exactly what happened earlier this month during the 29th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Montreal. During a meeting of 600 data protection commissioners and other influential global privacy leaders - including a number of IAPP board members - the IAPP had the distinct pleasure of directly engaging these members of our global privacy village. Many of these leaders had questions about the IAPP, and frankly, how to define a privacy professional. After we had the opportunity to explain the IAPP's core mission, they acknowledged the importance of our work and oftentimes expressed a desire for IAPP events and certification programs in their country.

The theme of the conference - Privacy Horizons: Terra Incognita - highlighted the challenging issues that data protection and privacy commissioners will need to address in coming years. A recurring theme during the programming centered on the critical nature of an ongoing and meaningful dialogue among regulators and the companies they regulate - as well as among data protection commissioners and officials who disagree - to facilitate solutions in our increasingly complex and ever-changing global information economy.

It is precisely at this nexus that the IAPP is so enormously effective. Our conferences, such as the upcoming Academy, provide privacy pros the venue to meet, exchange ideas face-to-face and build solutions together. We are continuing to expand those opportunities for exchange and productive dialogue by offering new annual events, including the IAPP Canadian Privacy Summit in Toronto in May 2008. 

As a Premier Supporter of Privacy Horizons: Terra Incognita, the IAPP would like to congratulate Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, for hosting such a spectacularly successful conference while showcasing her beloved Montreal.

We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!

J. Trevor Hughes, CIPP
Executive Director, IAPP