Inside 1to1:Privacy

Greetings!

January 1, 2009

The Golden Globes. The Oscars. The Emmys. For better or worse, the red carpet will command the airwaves in the coming months. We're way ahead of them. Last month, privacy professionals rolled out the red carpet for a celebrity of their own, Marty Abrams.

Before the curtain closed on 2008, the IAPP presented Marty with the 2008 Privacy Vanguard Award for his major contributions to global privacy policy matters.

Marty is a vanguard in every sense of the word. For the last three decades he has created policies, led movements and counseled hundreds in the areas of privacy and security. His theories are in use worldwide by data protection commissioners, CPOs, government officials and others. Recently, Marty and his team developed a document to guide the incoming Obama administration on matters of privacy and security.

Marty's willingness to share his expertise has largely shaped the privacy profession we know today. We are all better for it.

This willingness to share information is something we will explore in this month's newsletter. Every day we read news stories about the repercussions of sharing personal information online. But we're learning that, for society as a whole, information sharing in online communities has its benefits.

Also this month we delve into a debate that has nations and states examining how they handle citizens' data in public records. When open records laws originated, obtaining public information such as court decisions or motor vehicle registration information involved a drive down to the courthouse or, even slower, a snail mail request to a municipal clerk. And back then, using the personal information within such records required a Frank Abagnale-type motivation that few could fathom.

Several gigabytes later, such information is, quite literally, at our fingertips. The convenience of this newfound accessibility comes at a cost and that cost is often privacy. In her annual report to Parliament last month, Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart expressed her concerns about the widespread availability of personal data in public records. And just last week U.S. senators from Maine, New Hampshire and California introduced legislation to restrict the display of Social Security numbers in public records in order to prevent privacy loss and resulting identity fraud. State officials in Arkansas have already redacted SSNs and banking information from court records statewide to the same end. Jay Cline examines this issue below.

Speaking of Frank Abagnale, we are excited that he will deliver a keynote address at the Privacy Summit in March. The infamous former conman and subject of the film Catch Me If You Can has spent the last three decades helping law enforcement and industry prevent fraud.

We hope many of you can join us at this global privacy event. In addition to Frank Abagnale and Bruce Schneier, Jennifer Stoddart and other privacy regulators from around world will share their expertise and experiences for the benefit of the privacy profession.

See you at Summit.


J. Trevor Hughes, CIPP

Executive Director, IAPP