The IAPP continues to see a surge of privacy professionals joining the organization as members, but nowhere around the world has that growth been more pronounced than in Europe.
Over the past year, the association has seen a 75 percent increase in European membership. Since IAPP Europe Managing Director Paul Jordan came on board three years ago, the number of European members has risen from 2,000 to nearly 7,700, and the trend does not seem to be slowing down.
The increase, combined with the regulatory shifts created by the General Data Protection Regulation and, soon after, its ePrivacy Regulation, incentivized the IAPP to name its first class of "country leaders."
The five leaders are:
- Colleary & Company Founder and Principal Kate Colleary, CIPP/E, in Ireland;
- IITR Datenschutz GmbH Founder Sebastian Kraska in Germany;
- Privacy Management Partner Principle Consultant and Partner Jeroen Terstegge, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, in the Netherlands;
- KPMG and Ernst & Young Partner Giles Watkins in the U.K.; and
- Baker McKenzie Partner Yann Padova in France.
Jordan said the country leaders will represent the IAPP to grow the IAPP’s membership and to be the eyes and ears on the ground in an effort to ensure the IAPP's membership numbers in Europe continue to grow.
"Given the rapid growth in interest in privacy issues and responses, partly driven by impending EU legislation, the time feels right for there to be a ‘figurehead’ in each significant market that can act as a ‘lightning conductor’ for capturing local market issues and needs," Watkins said.
Jordan said while the IAPP existing relationships with data protection authorities is strong, country leaders will be able to establish dialogue with public entities, departments of employment and training, for example, on what the IAPP can offer in terms of certifications and membership.
Terstegge said, “One of my ambitions is to liaise with other organizations for privacy professionals in The Netherlands, such as the Dutch DPO Society (NGFG) and the Dutch Privacy Law Association (VPR), and find some form of a working relationship with them as many members are a member of two organizations and some even of all three."
The five countries themselves were chosen strategically and for various reasons: The significant number of U.S. companies' legal headquarters in Ireland; the number of French- and German-speaking countries around the EU; and the U.K. and the Netherlands as the world's fastest-growing markets.
While part of the country leaders' responsibility will be communicating what's happening at the IAPP, their regional expertise will be a significant asset, Jordan explained.
“They will certainly be assisting us as we develop our strategy, not only in the country where they are based, but also collectively helping us get a better understanding of the mechanics of data protection privacy as it continues to evolve in Europe with the GDPR and the ePrivacy Regulation,” he said.
Kraska said helping in that way was an attractive proposition.
“[In Germany] we have localized regulation and we have localized perspective, and its not interesting anymore,” he said. “It’s not suiting what I see in daily practice, and I’m happy to support the organization to give that information and perspective as well in a broader sense to the German market.”
Kraska, Tertegge and Colleary all have experience working with the IAPP in the past and hope to use their knowledge of the organization to help in their roles as representatives. Specifically, Colleary aims to tout the benefits of the IAPP’s certifications in Ireland, while Kraska seeks to build more KnowledgeNets in Germany.
“We have the world’s largest data processor space here, and there’s a real need for data protection professionals, and strong professionals. In order to achieve that, we each provide training,” said Colleary. “We need to a peer-to-peer network. The IAPP has an internationally recognized certification, and it’s a really good way for people to demonstrate their aptitude in privacy.”
The country leaders The Privacy Advisor spoke with said they know their role won’t be a walk in the park. For example, one obligation of the job is to ensure all of the IAPP’s materials are translated into their country’s main language.
Tertegge sees translation as one of the mountains he will need to climb working with a large, multi-lingual base.
“Those who speak English work for one of the many multinationals, but most members work for Dutch organizations and never use English in their day job. Those groups do not easily mix,” said Tertegge. “Together with our great co-chairs of the KnowledgeNet Netherlands, I hope to find a way to satisfy the needs of both the Dutch and English-speaking members in The Netherlands.”
As privacy becomes increasingly topical, Colleary said one near-term challenge will be making sure the IAPP’s voice and achievements stand out.
“I think there’s a lot of talk right now about privacy through the media and on social media among people generally,” said Colleary. “There are levels of awareness-raising going on. The challenge will be to distinguish IAPP’s voice in a very competitive marketplace in terms of airtime on privacy.”
Watkins agreed that awareness raising will be key for her, especially given the lingering questions surrounding Brexit.
"Whilst interest is expanding rapidly, there are still many more people and organizations that are not aware of, or have yet to fully think through privacy issues, requirements and opportunities," said Watkins. "There is still plenty of basic education work to do within the UK and it will be a challenge to deliver this wider awareness in an efficient and effective manner."
Jordan said the IAPP will look at the returns on the investments of country leaders in the coming year, with an eye toward appointing more in other key jurisdictions. The number may be at five for now, but there’s a good chance a leadership position may be coming to a member state near you in the not-so-distant future.
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