Privacy Advisor

Notes from the IAPP President

April 1, 2011


Momentum might be the most used word in this column. It seems to come up each month as I reflect on the activities of the previous weeks. The momentum in our field of data privacy and protection seems to be relentless.

It was evident at our Global Privacy Summit in March, and it has been evident since then in the global privacy news. European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding last week proclaimed that upcoming changes to the EU Data Protection Directive will give Europeans the so-called right to be forgotten and will apply to businesses everywhere, not simply those based in Europe. In Poland, an amendment to the data protection law has taken effect that gives the country’s privacy commissioner more leeway to use enforcement proceedings against noncompliant data processors and to create more regional offices to support greater enforcement, and in the U.S., the Obama Administration has called for national privacy legislation—a privacy bill of rights.

“The administration now recommends that congress enact legislation to provide a firm legal foundation,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing last week.

Is this a watershed moment? It’s the first time a U.S. administration has come out in support of an online privacy bill. One has to ask, will this be the impetus for broad-based legislation?

It’s a very interesting question, and it will be interesting to watch the developments unfold. Sens. John Kerry and John McCain are prepping a bill of rights that they say will drop soon. We will be watching.


J. Trevor Hughes, CIPP
President & CEO, IAPP