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Asia Pacific Dashboard Digest | Notes from the Asia-Pacific region, 8 Nov. 2019 Related reading: Notes from the Asia-Pacific region, 22 Nov. 2019

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Hello, privacy pros. 

Last week, approximately 300 privacy professionals from Australia, New Zealand and beyond came together in Sydney for two days at the 11th annual IAPP ANZ Summit. 

We were treated to an impassioned speech from New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards, titled "Addressing the Power Asymmetry of the Big Tech Companies," in which he described the diffused power of individuals and regulators from around the world in contrast with the consolidated power held by a few large technology companies. When discussing potential solutions to the challenges that arise from this asymmetry, he alluded to consumer protection regimes common in other industries, such as pharmaceuticals and air travel, suggesting, "... if we are not going to insist on independent ex ante review, we should at the very least impose a duty of care on those who launch products without thinking through the potential for harm and taking all reasonable steps to mitigate those harms." 

Edwards also warned of the capacity for digital platforms to undermine human rights, such as freedom of thought and association and the right of privacy under the shield of freedom of expression: "What's that got to do with privacy? It's all based on our data — obtained under mostly false pretenses, deceptive conduct or half true declarations of purpose buried in a thesis-length legalese privacy policy." Read the full transcript to see why some are calling this the best privacy speech of 2019. 

ANZ Summit attendees were also treated to presentations and participation from international visitors. United States speaker Woodrow Hartzog, author of “Privacy's Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies” and Northeastern University School of Law and the College of Computer and Information Science professor, presented a compelling keynote that proposed a holistic approach to privacy requires action beyond data protection. We were also briefed on U.K. and European data protection developments by U.K. Information Commissioner Office Deputy Commissioner Operations James Dipple-Johnstone and U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Deputy Director of Data Protection and U.K. Digital Department Kevin Adams. 

With a successful ANZ Summit behind us, planning for next year's event begins soon, so be on the lookout for a call for speakers. 

You'll find links below to a variety of stories from across the region — a lawsuit challenging the use of facial-recognition technology in China; New Zealand Police evaluating the feasibility of accessing commercial genealogy services, such as Ancestry.com, to help solve crime; and a study from the GSMA highlighting how mobile big data can be used for societal good. 

Best regards,

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