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4,8

Hello from Singapore!

It is such a delight to write this letter the day after the IAPP Asia Privacy Forum in Singapore — two days spent soaking in all things privacy in this region (and beyond!) and hearing so many diverse and interesting viewpoints and insights.

It was my first in-person conference in two-and-a-half years. The sheer joy of meeting and talking to so many fascinating people face to face who share my love for this domain has been unparalleled. In particular, chatting up with the team from IAPP whom I previously only interacted with online as well as with my fellow Asia Advisory Board members was heartwarming, to say the least.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to jot down some key takeaways of the last two days:

‘Getting privacy right’ is high on the agenda

Some countries in Asia have had a privacy law for a while, some have recently made a law and some are yet to get one. Irrespective of the stage of life of the law(s) that one has to deal with, the general mood was about learning from the experiences in other parts of the world, building on them and getting things done quickly and efficiently.

Acknowledging diversity and the need for a tailored approach

Asia as a whole cannot be painted with the same brush when it comes to privacy. Varying by size, business landscape and surrounding ecosystems, the approach to ensuring that the privacy rights of individuals are upheld has to be tailored to the individual country’s context. This message came across clearly.

Highly supportive environment of key stakeholders

The conference was kickstarted with a keynote by Singapore’s privacy regulator. This was followed by sessions over the next two days where regulatory heads of other countries like Hong Kong and South Korea also spoke. Then there were representatives from civil society and policy bodies as well. This fact and the content of their talks spoke volumes to the kind of active support being fostered in building a strong and nurturing ecosystem for privacy to grow and prosper.

Huge shortage of talent

Despite the industry being in its infancy in large parts of Asia, the acute scarcity of talent in the domain of privacy was something everyone talked about.

Overall, I came away energized and fortified with the new friends I made whom I know I can reach out to for help anytime — and an acute sense of how two days are simply not enough for a topic like privacy at the juncture where it is today.

I urge readers to check out the various sessions from the conference online. I hope you find them full of insights and learnings like I did.

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