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The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) has unveiled the Westin Fellowship, named for privacy pioneer Alan Westin, and intended to “encourage and enable research and scholarship in the field of privacy.” Recent graduates of undergraduate and graduate programs with high academic standing and a demonstrated interest in privacy may apply for and be awarded 12-month paid residencies at the IAPP offices here in Portsmouth, NH, and work on privacy research projects under the IAPP’s newly named VP of Research and Education Omer Tene.

Tene has a long history with both privacy thought leadership and the IAPP. He is a senior research fellow in various think tanks and academic institutions, including the Future of Privacy Forum and Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and consults government organizations and Fortune 100 firms on privacy and data protection. Tene, who is vice dean and associate professor at Israel’s College of Management School of Law, served as rapporteur for the OECD review of its 1980 Privacy Guidelines and on the IAPP’s European Advisory Board.

Now he comes to the IAPP, bringing his family from Israel to live in New England.

In his new role with the IAPP, Tene said the late Dr. Westin “personifies what we’re now trying to achieve, combining academic discourse at the highest level with practical, day-to-day privacy work. Alan Westin is a privacy icon, both for his academic and practical contribution. He invested a lot of time and effort in consulting and getting privacy right on the ground and in practice, on the one hand, and exploring the historical and philosophical roots of privacy on the other hand.”

Tene said it’s important to “recalibrate” the ways that academics discuss privacy by talking to the professionals who are out in the field. “IAPP will commission and fund research that will impact the work of policy-makers, regulators, industry and civil society,” he said.

Westin’s 1972 report, Data Banks in a Free Society, Tene noted, provides impetus for privacy frameworks all over the world, including the OECD Privacy Guidelines, the European Data Protection Directive and the U.S. Consumer Protection Privacy Bill of Rights. Westin’s work on HIPAA compliance and privacy in the healthcare sector is applied daily by thousands of medical staff and insurance officers.

“I see my role as building bridges,” Tene said, “bridges between academics and professionals, and between the U.S. and Europe and the rest of the world. Academic privacy research too often remains at a level of abstraction inapplicable to day-to-day practice. We will create, support and showcase research that is applicable to real-world problems. This includes not only legal research but also computer science, engineering, economics, sociology, business, political science and design.”

For more information on the Westin Fellowship and how to apply, visit our website. The application deadline is March 31.

Written By

Sam Pfeifle


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