Partner, Co-head, International Data Protection Practice, Bird & Bird
Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research; Founder and President, Data & Society
Information Commissioner, U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office
Commissioner, Data Protection Ireland
Chairwoman, European Data Protection Board; Director, Austrian Data Protection Authority
Best-Selling Author of 'Inheritance'
Margaret Atwood has long been a literary titan, but “current events have polished the oracular sheen of her reputation,” says The New Yorker. With her 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” back on the bestsellers lists and its television adaptation awarded eight Emmy Awards, it seems Atwood’s sharp eye is more necessary—and prescient—than ever.
“Every totalitarian government on the planet has always taken a very great interest in women’s reproductive rights,” says Margaret Atwood; a disquieting insight at any time, but particularly in today’s portentous political landscape. Just as it did when it was published, the story of “The Handmaid’s Tale”—a future where women’s reproductive rights are governed by a conservative (and patriarchal) administration—is unearthing chilling patterns to an uneasy public.
Two blockbuster television adaptations—first “The Handmaid’s Tale,” then “Alias Grace”—have meant that Margaret Atwood’s vision is reaching a wider audience than ever before. “The Handmaid’s Tale” received 13 Emmy nominations and eight awards—including for Best Drama. Atwood herself received a standing ovation. “Alias Grace,” now streaming on Netflix, is based on Atwood’s Giller-winning, Booker-shortlisted murder mystery, and is notable for being written, produced, and directed by women.
A winner of many international literary awards, including the prestigious Booker Prize, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General’s Award, the PEN Pinter Prize, the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is the author of more than fifty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction. She is perhaps best known for her novels, which include “The Edible Woman,” “The Robber Bride,” “The Blind Assassin,” “Oryx and Crake,” and “The Year of the Flood.” Her non-fiction book “Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth,” part of the Massey Lecture series, was made into a documentary. Her novel, “MadAddam” (the third novel in the “Oryx and Crake” trilogy), has received rave reviews: “An extraordinary achievement” (The Independent); “A fitting and joyous conclusion” (The New York Times). The trilogy is being adapted into an HBO TV series by celebrated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. Atwood’s most recent collection of short stories is “Stone Mattress.” Her most recent novel is “Hag-Seed,” a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
Atwood’s work has been published in more than 40 languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004, she co-invented the LongPen, a remote signing device that allows someone to write in ink anywhere in the world via tablet PC and the internet. She is a founder of the Writers’ Trust of Canada and a founding trustee of the Griffin Poetry Prize. She is also a popular personality on Twitter, with over a million followers.
Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College.
Ruth Boardman jointly heads Bird & Bird's International Privacy Group. She co-wrote “Data Protection Strategy” and has edited the “Encyclopedia of Data Protection” (Sweet & Maxwell), is on the editorial board of Data Protection Law & Policy and is a contributor to online data compliance tool www.dataguidance.com. Boardman is also a member of the Security Working Group of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. She is top-ranked by legal directories, with Chambers noting that she is “always to the point, with specific, direct advice.”
A principal researcher at Microsoft Research, danah boyd is the founder and president of Data & Society and a visiting professor at New York University. Her research is focused on addressing social and cultural inequities by understanding the relationship between technology and society. Her most recent books, “It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens” and “Participatory Culture in a Networked Age,” examine the intersection of everyday practices and social media. She is a 2011 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Director of both Crisis Text Line and Social Science Research Council, and a Trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian. She received a bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University, a master's degree from the MIT Media Lab, and a Ph.D in Information from the University of California, Berkeley.
Elizabeth Denham was appointed Information Commissioner in July 2016. She has more than a decade of regulatory experience in similar senior roles in privacy and access to information regulation in Canada, including a recently completed six-year term as Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, and a term as Assistant Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Helen Dixon, the Commissioner for Data Protection Ireland, was appointed in September 2014. Responsible for upholding the rights of individuals regarding how data about them is used, the role, among other things, requires regulation of a large number of U.S. internet multinationals with European bases in Ireland. Previously Irish Registrar of Companies, Dixon has also held senior roles in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation working on economic migration policy, science, technology and innovation policy. She spent the first ten years of her career in the IT industry. She holds postgraduate qualifications in European economic and public affairs, governance, computer science, official statistics for policy evaluation, and judicial skills and decision making. Dixon was delighted when she was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) in 2014.
On January 1, 2014, Andrea Jelinek, who holds a doctorate degree in law, became head of the Austrian Data Protection Authority. While still a student, she worked as a consultant at the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), later as a trainee lawyer and from 1991 as a legal officer at the General Secretariat of the Austrian Rectors' Conference. Two years later, she moved to the Ministry of the Interior, where she first worked as a legal officer and later as head of department in the legal and legislative department. One of her specializations—asylum and immigration law—helped determine her further career. From October 2010 to June 2011 she was head of the Vienna Foreign Police. Before that, in 2003, she was the first woman in Vienna to be appointed head of a police commissioner's office.
Since February 2018 Jelinek has also been the Chair of the Article 29 Working Party.
Dani Shapiro is the best-selling author of the memoirs “Inheritance,” “Hourglass,” “Still Writing,” “Devotion,” and “Slow Motion,” and five novels, and is the host of the forthcoming podcast “Family Secrets.” Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, Vogue, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, and has been broadcast on “This American Life.” She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, The New School, and Wesleyan University; she is co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Italy. A contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler, Shapiro lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.