The Future of Privacy Forum and the Israel Tech Policy Institute have, for more than a year, considered the creation of a group in which privacy technology vendors, investors, academics and companies in various industries can meet and establish relationships with one another. Future of Privacy Forum CEO Jules Polonetsky, CIPP/US, however, felt the idea came into existence a little prematurely.
Companies were focused on their compliance efforts with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, and vendors worked to get their products out on the market in time to fill those needs. No one had time to look at the big picture, Polonetsky said, but with the GDPR in its second year and the California Consumer Privacy Act on the horizon, the FPF and ITPI felt now is the time to make the privacy tech group a reality.
Polonetsky said the launch now of the Privacy Tech Alliance comes at a time when the privacy tech market has taken a great leap forward, which made 2019 the right time to jump-start the initiative.
“It’s the increasing complexity of compliance, the recognition by the investor community that this is a market, and then I would throw in the intensity of data use,” Polonetsky said. “We have been documenting how every sector of the economy today is increasingly dependent on more and more sensitive and sophisticated uses of data, whether it’s real-world evidence for health, the data need for machine learning or evidence-based policymaking that policymakers want in order to understand what decisions to make. It’s a perfect storm.”
Most privacy tech is geared toward larger enterprises, however. Polonetsky said the alliance also wants to focus on nonprofits, school districts and startups that need privacy technology solutions as a first point of entry for privacy compliance.
“One core area is helping to bring the leading academics that are doing cutting-edge privacy research to these companies,” Polonetsky said. “Many of these are startups. They do not have the time or the relationships to be surveying the leading academic experts, and the academic experts who are working in these interesting areas may not even be aware of what the needs of companies are or the needs of these participants.”
Building relationships is not the only area of focus for the alliance. ITPI Managing Director Limor Shmerling Magazanik, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, CIPM, said the group plans to “drill down” on research and development in verticals such as digital health, smart cities, smart mobility and digital education to see how privacy tech has been helpful for those working in these areas, as well as what can be improved.
Magazanik also said professionals and vendors can engage in conversation to remedy any barriers when attempting to implement privacy tech.
“I think there is a realization that in today’s complicated data protection regulatory environment, we must create better tech solutions, because managing privacy concerns and risks manually, or only by people in simple types of data software, is not a proper way to do the job,” Magazanik said.
Polonetsky, Magazanik and members of the alliance's board, such as the tech vendor Duality, believe the group benefits from having Israel as the center of operations. Polonetsky said since Israel is a leader in the cybersecurity sector, it is not surprising to see companies pop up around the country. Duality Co-Founder and CEO Alon Kaufman said Israel has an abundance of startups and added he sees "privacy as the next big wave here."
Duality Co-Founder and Chairwoman Rina Shainski said Israel's relationship with the U.S. and EU puts it in a great position to help serve both markets, especially as those companies work to address GDPR and CCPA compliance requirements.
The Privacy Tech Alliance will officially launch with a free-to-the-public event June 25 in Tel Aviv, Israel. The kick-off event will be the first opportunity for all of the aforementioned groups to get together and create partnerships. Polonetsky, Magazanik, and IAPP Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer Omer Tene will introduce the Alliance to lead off the event.
The next part of the session will feature a panel of global chief privacy officers who will share their viewpoints about what enterprises need from privacy technology. Panelists will include Intel Associate General Counsel, Global Privacy Officer David Hoffman, CIPP/US, and Adobe Systems Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer Alisa Bergman. Other presentations will include funders and venture capitalists who will talk about what they look for when investing in privacy tech, a feature on academic research, and an audience discussion to wrap up the day.
Polonetsky said the two groups are working on follow-up meetings for the alliance. He added while many of the follow-ups between interested parties will happen in person, video conferences will allow participants to contribute virtually.
Magazanik said a digital platform may be created in the future in which participants can create a profile in order to be matched with another entity that can help them with whatever they need. She said an annual conference may be a possibility, as well as monthly roundtable discussions that would focus on a different privacy tech topic.
Plenty of privacy tech solutions currently exist, but in terms of what might be the best fit for the alliance, Polonetsky pointed toward vendors that have created two different types of solutions. One category would include vendors with solutions designed to help the legal and privacy compliance office with “private program management,” and the other would be solutions that can be integrated into an organization’s pre-existing infrastructure to help automate data subject access requests and search for data in order for it to be categorized.
With the GDPR-era in effect, the CCPA coming down the pipeline, and more laws surely to follow, the need for privacy technology will continue to be a pressing one. Compliance is not everything, Polonetsky said. Everyone may want to make sure they do not run afoul of any privacy laws, but the alliance wants to make sure that the people whose data is used for all these different purposes is not lost in the shuffle.
“One of the key points that we want to help emphasis is that although there is a legal compliance driver that is perhaps the core reason that this market is growing, at the end of the day we are talking about protecting human rights,” Polonetsky said. “We are talking about consumer trust and we want to help the sector, as much as it supports legal compliance, ensure that the human values at the center are an important part of the mission.”
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