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Privacy Perspectives | IAPP members commemorate Pride Month with events, LinkedIn group Related reading: No One Should Be Outed By an Ad

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Editor's Note:

There is still space to register for tonight’s free LGBTQ KnowledgeNet event in DC. It is shaping up to be a memorable evening, with an all-star panel of speakers, plus appetizers sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton’s GLOBE forum.

As a newly minted lawyer starting out in the privacy profession, I have been struck by the intimacy of the IAPP community, the eagerness with which privacy pros share their knowledge and reach out for advice in this constantly developing field. Over my past 10 months with the IAPP, I have come to appreciate the role the organization plays as a conduit for exchanging ideas and building connections between privacy professionals.

The important accomplishments of the IAPP as an organization do not only seem to originate here in Portsmouth, but also, it seems to me, the IAPP succeeds by nurturing and giving purchase to the efforts of the existing privacy community. This professional association could not exist without the passionate efforts of its members to connect and spread knowledge. Whether they are organizing one of the dozens of local KnowledgeNet chapters or volunteering to speak at a web conference, privacy professionals always seem to be coming up with new ways to trade ideas and business cards.

Both in college and law school, I had been able to seek out visible and approachable networks of LGBTQ individuals to connect with those who shared my identity, but I wasn’t seeing such a group within the IAPP community. These affinity groups provided the means to network, share experiences, and coordinate actions. Plus, sexual identity and concern for privacy are deeply linked. In fact, like other minority groups, LGBTQ individuals are more likely to suffer from privacy harms and are more likely to censor themselves online.

The solution to creating and nurturing a community of LGBTQ privacy professionals has proved to be the same as the creation of the IAPP itself: members expressing their passion for sharing and building something together. This year, to commemorate Pride Month, a group of IAPP members has been working hard behind the scenes to build just such a network. These efforts culminated in the creation of a new LinkedIn group, LGBTQ Privacy & Tech Network, as well as two local KnowledgeNet events.

Last week, the New York KnowledgeNet chapter hosted a successful LGBTQ happy hour. Dozens of privacy pros turned out on a weeknight to hear a compelling discussion between former White House Senior Advisor for Privacy Marc Groman, CIPP/US, and Hunton & Williams’ Global Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Partner and Chair Lisa Sotto, CIPP/US, CIPM, FIP. Not to be outdone, the Washington, DC, chapter has planned an exciting event tonight (June 20). Hopefully, these events will lead to many future LGBTQ KnowledgeNet events in chapters around the world.

As an official Affinity Group, the LGBTQ Privacy and Tech Network joins the IAPP’s other sub-networks of like-minded professionals. These include affinity groups for Minorities in Privacy, Cybersecurity Professionals, and State, Local, and Municipal (SLAM) Government Privacy Professionals, as well as sections for lawyers, women and U.S. federal government professionals.

Affinity groups and sections serve an important role in connecting privacy professionals who share identities and unifying experiences in a more intimate setting than the wider IAPP network. I spoke with Verizon Enterprise Solutions Staff Counsel for Data Privacy/Cybersecurity Compliance Jay Sinha, CIPP/G, CIPP/US, about this role. Sinha has been working hard to organize the DC KnowledgeNet event, along with Groman and Booz Allen Hamilton Senior Consultant Christina Lauderdale. As Sinha put it, "While a single network is a powerful tool for professional development, gaining insight into the many opportunities and challenges of the privacy industry can be difficult without focused, tailored advice. Affinity groups help professionals obtain unique insights from peers and mentors that are nuanced, and speak even more directly to the listener."

The LGBTQ Affinity Group may be new, but this network of privacy professionals has, in fact, been growing for some time. For the past three years, the IAPP has hosted a networking event for LGBTQ members during the Global Privacy Summit. Groman has been particularly instrumental in these efforts. After this year’s networking event, members expressed an interest in working to make the group more active. He provided the spark to launch the LGBTQ Affinity Group and Pride Month events and has worked tirelessly to bring them about. Groman, recently recognized with a 2017 IAPP Leadership Award, provides a great example of the kind of drive to learn, connect and share that builds community.

I am glad to be among a community of professionals who recognizes the importance of connection, whether within identity groups, within practice areas or simply with individuals very different from ourselves who share our same nerdy passions.

To stay connected with the LGBTQ affinity group, please join the LinkedIn group. For information on privacy and visibility settings for LinkedIn groups, visit this page. If you would like to help organize a local KnowledgeNet event or have other ideas for bringing privacy professionals together, reach out to Brittany Siciliano, member engagement coordinator at the IAPP.

photo credit: four12 IM5_0031 via photopin (license)

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