Greetings from Paris!
Quite the week here in Paris for the IAPP. Our inaugural DPI: France conference, a sellout, was a resounding success building on our continued efforts in Europe. I was most pleased by the feedback received from our French community, for whom holding the DPI conference series is in large part to offer an educational conference to the local community. And in this case, to the broader francophone IAPP community.
IAPP Country Leader for France Yann Padova and I both served as hosts and facilitators for the respective language conference tracks. With more than 340 attendees on site, we were delighted to welcome privacy pros from more than 30 countries. In addition to our expected EU registrants, we had folks traveling from Turkey, Benin, Mali, Algeria, Morocco, Qatar and Brazil, to name but a few. This diversity was not lost on our delegates, and during the breaks, I could hear a symphony of conversations in multiple languages, which I think speaks to the importance of the IAPP’s international dimension and reach. We truly are the "I" in the IAPP, and I cannot overemphasize how important this is to our mission.
The Westin Hotel Vendome itself is a particularly delightful location to hold a mid-sized conference: Dating back to 1878 and designed to be the most comfortable and luxurious hotel of its kind, it continues to retain a healthy dose of the old Parisian world about it, despite numerous renovations over the years to upgrade the property for the modern era. Historically, though, it can claim some well-known French patrons: Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, took up residence here during her husband’s exile, staying until 1919. Even Victor Hugo himself, presided over lavish banquets in his own honor for the occasion of his birthday numerous times in the delectable imperial salons on the ground floor. Incidentally, this is where we served up the conference luncheons, coffee breaks and networking reception. Our exhibitors, sponsors and delegates were given a rare and opulent setting to intermingle and discuss the privacy challenges of the day.
The very soul of the DPI series is to emphasize the privacy pro experience as shared with peers, and there was plenty to share. The sessions on DPIAs and vendor management were in my view two of the more popular topics under discussion. The newly formatted “micro-talk” sessions were delivered by established DPOs and privacy leaders. These were first launched at the DPI: Deutschland event and continue to receive acclaim. Designed as sessions to “bare all,” so to speak, these 15-minute testimonials did not disappoint with some candid and sometimes heartfelt accounts of the daily struggle for professional acknowledgment of the DPO function. There was, however, an optimism and palpable sense of growing confidence, and without naming any particular speakers, one could sense the resonance and solidarity in the room as the DPOs described their journeys. To be frank, the Q&A segments following the conference panels could have gone well past the allotted time in most instances. This is the hallmark of great content and delivery by the speakers.
With operational practices being the cornerstone of the DPI series, the session that promised to deliver on newsworthy mentions were the respective “Regulators’ View” panels. Our very own Angelique Carson was over from Washington and wrote a good piece, which you can read here.
I would like to thank all our speaking faculty for their immense contributions during the conference — too numerous to mention. Although I would like to offer a special thanks to our regulatory participants for their support: Jean Lessi, secretary-general of the CNIL; Joëlle Jouret, legal adviser and DPO of the EDPB; Cathal Ryan, assistant commissioner at the Irish Data Protection Commissioner; and Michael Kaiser, head of department for banking at the Hessian Data Protection Commissioner. The regulatory voice provides important insights into an ever-changing landscape and one that is always appreciated by the privacy community as they seek to navigate both internal and external stakeholders.
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