By Jennifer L. Saunders, CIPP

For the first time in its 33-year history, the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) will be held in Latin America, as Mexico’s Federal Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection (IFAI) hosts the 2011 conference, entitled “PRIVACY: The Global Age.”

In advance of the event, IFAI President Commissioner Jacqueline Peschard spoke with the Daily Dashboard about her work, the data protection efforts of the IFAI and of what conference attendees can expect at what promises to be an ICDPPC unlike any other.

“We are very happy to host it for the first time,” Peschard says, speaking of the importance of the conference’s role as a path for data protection authorities (DPAs) and privacy commissioners to create and build relationships.

The 33rd ICDPPC will be held in Mexico City-- a premiere international tourism destination known for its historical, cultural and architectural features as well as the warmth of its people--from November 2 to 3 with a special closed section for regulators on November 1 and preconference events set for October 31

Regardless of borders, DPAs need to focus on the new businesses and applications that use data in innovative ways that at the same time pose new challenges in the privacy and data protection sphere, Peschard explains.

As president of the Iberoamerican Network of Data Protection (RIPD), a forum for the promotion of the fundamental right to data protection within this community of 22 countries, she has a key perspective on this need.

Peschard, who holds a PhD from El Colegio de Michoacán, has been a member of the National Board of Researchers since 1988 and as a political science professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) since 1979. Her other experience includes being appointed counselor to the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), where she was an advisor to the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division, and serving as a member of the Mexican Culture Seminar and IFAI commissioner since 2007.

Elected by her fellow commissioners as president commissioner in 2009, Peschard explains that while much of her work with the IFAI has been in moving from a reactive to proactive approach with regard to managing information access, last year’s new commitment from Congress gave the IFAI oversight of data protection in the private sector.

This prompted a reorganization of the entire institute, as it previously only had oversight of the public sector, she notes, adding the institute received “a lot of support from civic organizations, academia and the media in the process.”

Peschard explains that the law passed last year is built upon both European and APEC data protection models.

“We have a law that could take the experiences of other countries,” she notes, explaining that in building on the work of other nations and regulators, the hope is that Mexico has a law that will align with other regions, incorporating some of the best pieces of other legislation.

Currently, key components of the regulations are under public consultation, she adds, noting that this stage will soon conclude and it will be enacted in January. Private-sector’s and she hopes that input, as well as that of other stakeholders on the private-sector regulations will also “help us with all the work we’ve been doing with data protection in the public sector” and paint a comprehensive picture of the reaction in the private sector.

Looking toward its role as host of the upcoming conference, the IFAI has released a preview description pointing out that, “As data proliferates and moves through global networks at a speed once unimaginable, new businesses, technologies and applications use information in innovative ways that in turn create real economic value, however often challenging individual autonomy.”

As Peschard puts it, in a time when data is not hemmed in by geographic boundaries, DPAs must work together across borders, which is one of the key aims of ICDPPC.

“We want to work on the challenge we all face in this moment of global networks,” she says.

To those ends, the IFAI is offering an entire week of privacy activities, commencing on October 31 with a preconference “Privacy As Freedom” event, followed up on November 1 with regulators’ workshops on the OECD as well as Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian’s Privacy by Design, with a special focus on the emergence of “Privacy by Re-Design.” The two-day ICDPPC then begins, with a chance take part in a wealth of sessions and “gather and discuss the current challenges and concerns and extend the dialogue beyond the presentations,” Peschard explains, adding the focus has been on creating a truly balanced program representing all DPA regions.

This will not simply be a repeat of past events, she says, adding, “We aim at refreshing it from the outset.”

For full details on November’s conference, including program, location and registration information, visit the IFAI’s conference website.


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