IAPP Conference Draws Record Crowds

In a vernal twist of fate, Washington D.C.'s famed cherry trees bloomed a week early, just in time to greet 1,400 privacy professionals from all over the world for the annual International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Privacy Summit at the Renaissance Hotel.

"It was our highest-attended Privacy Summit yet," said IAPP Executive Director J. Trevor Hughes, "It attests to the growth of the privacy profession and the value of the conference."

Attendees such as Spain's data protection commissioner Artemi Rallo Lombarte, UK Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, and hundreds of privacy professionals from myriad sectors came to learn, share ideas, and network.

Some got an early start on Wednesday in sold out pre-conference sessions on social networking, governmental privacy, behavioral targeting, and insurance privacy.

"The room was filled with professionals from a surprisingly diverse set of industries, making for lively and productive discussion," said Mike Spinney, CIPP, principal of SixWeight and moderator of the morning session on social networking. "Online social networking's impact on the workplace is an issue confronting many businesses today. We were able to help a number of folks establish an informed starting point for successfully addressing the specific questions they face."

For neophytes, privacy "bootcamp" dominated the afternoon, while more seasoned pros pursued one of the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) designations. The Summit once again established new benchmarks for turnout as 237 students prepared through IAPP training workshops, and 352 tested for privacy certification.

"With our largest training and testing classes to date, clearly the CIPP has become the standard designation for privacy and data protection that the marketplace recognizes and demands," said IAPP Assistant Director Peter Kosmala.

The full conference got underway on Thursday with special guests Nina Totenberg and Jeffrey Rosen, who delivered separate keynote addresses. Totenberg, who is legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio, opened her speech with a look back to the year 1965, when the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution protected a right to privacy, thereby overturning a Connecticut law prohibiting the use of contraceptives. "The Court said the law violated privacy surrounding marital relationship," Totenberg said, "and denounced the state for imposing their morals on the people of Connecticut."

Rosen, a George Washington University law professor, spoke of the pervasiveness of social networking, saying "we may be on the verge of a new privacy Chernobyl," and provided examples of "mini-privacy Chernobyl's" that have contributed to the changing face of privacy. Rosen concluded with a call to action to the audience of privacy professionals, saying "When it comes to the future of privacy in America, the president, Congress, and the courts can't save us. Only you can save us."

Other Thursday highlights included "Building your privacy dream house," a session led by representatives from eBay, Chevron, Intuit, and Microsoft, where attendees learned how to give their organizations a privacy "extreme makeover," and "Rethinking the Definition of PII" in today's online environment.

Thursday night was "Movie Night." After a sumptuous Privacy Summit celebration at the Ronald Reagan Building, popcorn-toting privacy pros headed to the Renaissance auditorium for a screening of The Lives of Others, a film about the monitoring of East Berlin's cultural scene by agents of the Stasi—the GDR's secret police—five years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

At Friday's closing ceremonies, Hughes presented UK Information Privacy Commissioner Richard Thomas with the 2008 Privacy Leadership award for his ongoing commitment to raising the public profile of privacy and data protection issues. In accepting the award, Thomas asked the audience "What is your role as privacy professional?  Is it to protect the interests of the organization? To protect the interests of the people?"

"It has to be both," he concluded.

See the IAPP Privacy Summit photo gallery at


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with privacy pros, dive deep into specialized topics or connect over common interests. Find your Community in KnowledgeNet Chapters, Sections and Affinity Groups.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Talk privacy and network with local members at IAPP KnowledgeNet Chapter meetings, taking place worldwide.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

The Privacy Core™ Library Has Evolved

Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials just expanded to include seven new units for marketers. Keep your data safe and your staff in the know!

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

Upcoming Web Conferences

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Team

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Let’s Get You DPO Ready

There’s no better time to train than right now! We have all the resources you need to meet the challenges of the GDPR.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

FIP Designation

Recognizing the advanced knowledge and issue-spotting skills a privacy pro must attain in today’s complex world of data privacy.

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.


The IAPP’S CIPP/E and CIPM are the ANSI/ISO-accredited, industry-recognized combination for DPO readiness. Learn more today.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Are You Ready for the GDPR?

Check out the IAPP's EU Data Protection Reform page for all the tools and resources you need.

IAPP-OneTrust PIA Platform

New U.S. Government Agency privacy impact assessments - free to IAPP members!

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with privacy pros, dive deep into specialized topics or connect over common interests. Find your Community in KnowledgeNet Chapters, Sections and Affinity Groups.

Privacy Vendor List

Find a privacy vendor to meet your needs with our filterable list of global service providers.

More Resources »

Europe Data Protection Intensive 2017

The Intensive is sold out! But cancellations do happen—so hurry and get on the wait list in case more seats become available.

Global Privacy Summit 2017

The world’s premier privacy conference returns with the sharpest minds, unparalleled programs and preeminent networking opportunities.

Canada Privacy Symposium 2017

The Symposium returns to Toronto this spring and registration has opened! Take advantage of Early Bird rates and join your fellow privacy pros for another stellar program.

The Privacy Bar Section Forum 2017

The Privacy Bar Section Forum returns to Washington, DC April 21, delivering renowned keynote speakers and a distinguished panel of legal and privacy experts.

Asia Privacy Forum 2017

The Forum returns to Singapore for exclusive networking and intensive education on data protection trends and challenges in the Asia Pacific region. Call for Speakers open!

Privacy. Security. Risk. 2017

This year, we're bringing P.S.R. to San Diego. The Call for Speakers is now open. Submit today and be a part of something big! Submission deadline: February 26.

Europe Data Protection Congress 2017

European policy debate, multi-level strategic thinking and thought-provoking discussion. The Call for Speakers is open until March 19.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»