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Kia ora koutou,

Here in New Zealand, as elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, our thoughts are now turning towards the upcoming Privacy Week. In case you’ve forgotten, Privacy Week is an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities, intended to promote privacy awareness, inform people of their privacy rights, and help educate agencies about their responsibilities. For IAPP members, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the work we do all year, every year, to lift privacy practice and make our world a better place.

Privacy Week will take place 8-14 May, in New Zealand. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner revealed that the theme for 2023 is "Privacy Rights in the Digital Age." Noting emerging technologies and platforms are changing the privacy landscape, Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster believes people are just as entitled to privacy online as they are anywhere else. He wants organizations to "get behind" the Privacy Act, understand that privacy builds trust, and be transparent about data use in the digital environment. The commissioner intends to focus the week’s events and activities around several core topics, including the planned code for biometrics, children’s privacy online, online tracking, and — more ambitiously — how the digital transformation of our society impacts privacy and what we can do about it.

In the context of major recent developments, such as doomsday predictions about generative artificial intelligence (like ChatGPT), the expected passing of an AI Act in the EU, European judicial findings on the processing of personal data by Meta for marketing purposes, and mounting concern about the prevalence of facial recognition technology and other biometrics in techn, this is clearly an important question to ask. The answers might help us decide whether the digital horizon is, as the commissioner put it, "a nirvana or a dystopia." They might also help us as privacy professionals better guide our clients and organizations through what are likely to be the most challenging years yet in the privacy space.

The IAPP plans to be at the center of these discussions in the lead-up to and during Privacy Week. Watch your email for announcements on an exciting event planned for 5 May in Auckland, and expect updates from your local Auckland and Wellington KnowledgeNet chapters on networking events planned for Privacy Week — a chance to relax with your colleagues, reflect and celebrate a job well done.

It’s also time to start planning how to mark Privacy Week at your organization. Let us know if there’s any way we can support you, including providing resources (such as our much-loved stickers) to share with your teams or scheduling team certification training opportunities to celebrate the week. Feel free to send me an email, or contact the IAPP's new Managing Director, Australia New Zealand, Adam Ford.  

Finally, don’t forget the call for proposals to speak at the IAPP ANZ Summit 2023 in Sydney close 9 April. You have less than a month to make your case to speak at the region’s premier privacy event. This is just the place to continue the discussion on the question of privacy’s place in the digital age.

Enjoy the digest, stay safe, and be kind.

Ngā mihi.


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