Kia ora koutou,
We have come to the end of 2023, and what a year it's been for privacy. We couldn't have asked for a better way to tie it all up than gathering in Sydney for the IAPP ANZ Summit 2023. This was a wonderful opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues and get our heads out of the day-to-day grind. Here are some of my key takeaways:
- Artificial intelligence is still the number one hot topic in privacy. While we are likely near the top of the hype cycle, this is a transformative technology that will significantly impact all our lives. The explosion of generative AI, in particular, has propelled thinking about AI harms and how to prevent them to the forefront of many organizations, with the job of identifying and mitigating AI risks often landing on the desk of the privacy officer.
- We heard from representatives of some of the "hidden voices" not being heard in current AI discussions. While there is a need to consider the future harms of AI there are significant harms being perpetuated now that need our urgent attention — we should worry less about Robocop, and more about Robodebt.
- A recurring theme was the need to "know your data" in order to do privacy right. This is not a new concept, but had some renewed force behind it following a year of big privacy breaches in Australia and New Zealand, and in the context of AI's endless thirst for data.
- The regulatory landscape in Australia is shifting, with some significant proposals to amend Australia's Privacy Act, including the agreement in principle to remove both the current small business and employee exemptions. These intended changes, coupled with the move late in 2022 to extend the act's territorial scope to any organization "doing business in Australia," will bring many overseas businesses within its scope and AUD50 million fines regime.
- The regulatory landscape in New Zealand is less certain. However, in his call to action keynote, Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster called for strengthening the New Zealand Privacy Act, including a civil penalties regime, more privacy rights and the inclusion of more accountability obligations. He also reminded us of the important role privacy plays in a free and democratic society, and the part privacy professionals play in protecting this.
This is the last Notes from the Asia-Pacific region of 2023. It's time for privacy professionals to take stock over the holiday period and rebuild their resilience for what is sure to be a big year in 2024. I wish all IAPP members a calm, safe and restorative break, and look forward to seeing you all again in the new year.
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