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International Conference Draws Attention to Growing Data Protection Needs

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Nov 13, 2018

Callum Corr, data analytics specialist at ZL Technologies, recently attended the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels. Information Management connected with him to gauge his thoughts on the conference, along with his insights on where the US is heading with data privacy measures and how it will impact data professionals.

Information Management: What are your key takeaways stemming from the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels this year?

Callum Corr: This year’s conference in Brussels was the first event I attended that placed a huge emphasis on data ethics. The purpose of this conference was to bring together professionals who have been dealing with GDPR, from several industries. But the typical topics of how to comply, amendments to the text and industry best practices all took an unprecedented back seat to a full-fledged ethics discussion. It’s evident that we are at a pivotal time for technology.

Technology has thrived in the regulation-free wild west, where innovation hasn’t been hindered by compliance. However, data professionals are increasingly becoming more concerned with the compliance aspect. C-Suite executives of arguably the three largest tech companies in the world, Apple, Facebook and Google, all made strong promises that things are going to change. However, there wasn’t a suggestion that we were just heading in a new direction, there was a clear admission that what had happened in the past was no longer acceptable.

For me, the biggest takeaway was that Tim Cook, Erin Egan and Sundar Pichai, all gave their full support to a federal data privacy law in the United States. This public declaration of support was a step in the right direction from the perspective of most in the audience.

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