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The Privacy Advisor | CIPP/Asia credential slated for early 2017 Related reading: Meet the IAPP Asia managing director, Rona Morgan

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The IAPP will soon have another entry into its Certified Information Privacy Professional portfolio: the CIPP/A, or Asian designation, with particular focus on Hong Kong, Singapore and India.

The announcement is a long time coming, a natural forward movement for IAPP certifications, said IAPP Certification Director Doug Forman. “We’ve had by far more requests for an Asian certification than any other,” he said. Coupled with the maturing data privacy laws in the region, a new director for IAPP Asia-Pacific, Rona Morgan, increasingly packed KnowledgeNet meetings and the booming privacy interest from the multinational companies with APAC offices, the move just made sense. 

The new certification process began with a beta test. As of late November, 100 test-takers will have sat for the exam. The turnout is “really encouraging,” an indication that the interest in the designation wasn’t just hype, Forman said. And the interest isn’t just relegated to those in the U.S.

“There’s a lot of people from the [Asia Pacific] region taking the exam,” he said. “The interest for this is not just Westerners working for multinationals, but it’s really the people on the ground.”  

After the international group of test takers complete the beta round, the exam enters its next stage of development.  

“We will analyze the tests, find out which test questions performed the best, and choose those to comprise the operational exam.” With the help of a psychometrician, the certification team will debut the final version for universal use, “and that will come out right at the beginning of 2017,” he added.

Even though the beta test is ultimately used to help determine the content of the final product, those who pass in November will still receive their CIPP/A, Forman said.

“The people who do well on the exam as determined by the psychometrician and our advisory board will be certified. We’re hoping to start the year with a fresh crop of inaugural CIPP/As.”

Forman added that while there currently are no training materials developed in tandem with the test, there will be a body of knowledge, exam blueprint, and suggested resources lists for those prepping to take the exam.

“We imagine there will be trainers in the region who will pick up the training mantel,” he said. All resources, and the test itself, will be in English. 

However, “it’s important to note that we see this as an evolving credential,” Forman said. “We want to involve other jurisdictions and countries as soon as we feel we have an audience on the ground.”

In the meantime, IAPP Director of International Relations Tory Bell emphasized the journey the organization took in developing the CIPP/A was long, and that the hard work the near-final product entailed deserved a moment of celebration before delving into developing its next iteration.

“Over the past few years, the IAPP has been slowly building our community in Asia, and what we have been hearing consistently is a real need for a certification for Asia-based privacy pros, or even those pros who work frequently with Asia markets based outside the region,” Bell said. “It is a challenge because the market doesn't have the same cohesive legislation as the EU, U.S. or Canada, so we had to take a unique approach with this one."

The final result has pleased people across the board.

"Our members, volunteers and experts in Asia are so dedicated and enthusiastic about having a certification," she continued. "I think it really helps us reach folks who may feel they've been on their own in the field for quite some time."

Morgan, IAPP Asia's managing director, agreed. "While, in recent years, the focus has been on U.S. and EU regulations, many jurisdictions in Asia are catching up, and the data protection or privacy world is progressing very quickly indeed," she said. "I am delighted that IAPP is now able to offer an Asia-specific professional certification to serve the needs of both budding and seasoned privacy professionals in Asia."

While registration for the beta test is closed, Forman added that information about wide CIPP/A enrollment will be available on the IAPP website in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Courtney Gabrielson. 

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