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United States Privacy Digest | Notes from the IAPP, April 12, 2019 Related reading: Notes from the IAPP, Sept. 20, 2019

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Greetings from Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

It’s the second week of April, and we hope this week’s snowfall was the last of the season. While everyone here is well accustomed to frigid spring temperatures, we are looking forward to the warmth of Washington during the Global Privacy Summit in just a couple of weeks.

Having attended the Summit for about a decade now, it is its newer features that have captured my attention as we prepare to head to the nation's capital. The IAPP will hold its first Content Moderation Forum, as well as a Privacy Engineering Forum, our second alongside the Summit, both May 1.

The burgeoning content moderation field has a lot in common with the privacy profession in its infancy. Privacy professionals are interested in what comes next, and so are we. This week, IAPP Special Projects Manager Margaret Honda brought together some leaders in the field for a web conference on "Developing Policy for Global Content Moderation." The discussion focused on the balance between automation and human review, safety and free speech. While this is a perpetual debate (and one familiar to privacy professionals), it was fascinating to hear experts discuss real practical challenges and how they are addressing them through human rights impact assessments, crowdsourcing and transparency. Our web con presenters addressed questions on the role of regulation, standardization and how to achieve global norms while complying with local rules. U.S. policymakers grappled with content moderation this week, as well, debating how to hold tech leaders accountable for harmful content on their sites during a pair of hearings in Washington.

The other “newish” Summit event, the Privacy Engineering Forum, will tackle challenges at the intersection of technology and privacy. The event will look at issues like identity matching and user interface design. As it becomes clearer that operationalizing privacy requirements is a whole company endeavor, the IAPP Privacy Engineering Section is working to support the engineers grappling with how to build privacy controls into product designs.

There was a lot of news this week related to privacy engineering. We learned that Firefox is testing a new feature to keep websites from tracking users by fingerprinting browsers and that Google is rolling out a new interface for its Data Loss Prevention service, making the privacy tool simpler for novice users. We read about a pregnancy-monitoring application that shares de-identified health data with employers and insurance providers. And, we heard about New York’s attempts to deploy facial-recognition technologies on its highways. How can engineers innovating in this space help solve tomorrow’s privacy challenges? And how can the IAPP bring people and resources together to support them? As the IAPP Privacy Engineering Section leader, I would love to hear your ideas for future forum topics and other ways the section can support the profession.

Perhaps most exciting this week, The New York Times launched a new monthslong opinion series on privacy. No doubt, it will explore a great number of the above issues, as well as others of significant interest to privacy professionals. As part of the project's launch, the NYT published "The New Terminology for Privacy" using definitions provided by the IAPP. Kudos to my colleagues for the impressive work in that regard. The NYT says they are looking for project participants — technologists, policymakers, academics — to contribute ideas and solutions. We look forward to reading what you have to add!

Caitlin Fennessy
IAPP Senior Privacy Fellow

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