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The IAPP's incredible growth in terms of membership, reputation and popularity within the global privacy profession is undeniable. But by being invited to serve and support some EU data protection authorities within the EU-funded project T4DATA really exceeds any expectation.

On 8 Oct., I personally had the privilege to attend, on behalf of our association and as a speaker, a highly stimulating and innovative event in Warsaw, thanks to an invitation from Italian data protection authority, the Garante. The pleasant circumstance was one of three training sessions planned in the context of T4DATA, a co-founded project under the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the EU.

Such a program aims to defend the rights and freedoms that people are entitled to under EU law, with specific regards, among others, to ensure the protection of personal data. Started in January 2018, T4DATA is a transnational project to support training of national DPA officials and data protection officers in public entities with regard to the practical implications and interpretative issues concerning the GDPR.

There was no better opportunity than this for the IAPP to share best practices and opinions at the EU level, with the intention to embrace the essence of both the GDPR and funding programmes, i.e., enabling the European economic growth, by assuring citizens and companies’ freedoms and security.

Hence, not only did I have the chance to meet with officials of a number of European DPAs directly involved in the project (namely, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Bulgaria and Poland), but also with members of different local privacy stakeholders, fully diving into that private-public dialogue that's so needed in order to face the challenges of regulations vis-à-vis market expectations.

The project provides transnational activities for training DPA officials, aiming to create a common-base analysis and interpretation of the GDPR and to increase the ability of the authorities themselves to interact on building mutual trust, so as to improve future transnational cooperation.

On the other hand, T4DATA introduces local training activities, addressed to DPOs or to top management of central, regional or local public bodies, striving to provide targeted information on the provisions of the GDPR and raise awareness on the role, competencies and responsibilities of DPOs and, in general, top executives.

Furthermore, partners within the project will organize a number of webinars, 48 hours of structured lessons made available in each partner country, so as to reach a wide number of recipients and allow participants to learn from each other’s experiences. In light of the ambitious objectives of the project, together with experts of international prominence, I tried to outline facts and figures related to critical data protection aspects when confronted with business and market requests.

With specific references to DPAs and public bodies, the envisaged results translate into gains in terms of enhanced knowledge related to the GDPR, improvement of the capacity of those entities to endorse a system based on the principle of accountability, as well as strengthen cross-border collaboration and future cooperation.  

The DPAs involved also expect to improve the capacity to manage the application of the GDPR at the national level by allowing officials to acquire the ability to build a European culture of data protection, which involves monitoring and revision on a continuous basis.

Precisely in this sense, our participation has been considered relevant to the objectives of T4DATA.

A personal note: As a member of the most influential privacy organization in the world, together with the experience gained these last 10 years in the private sector, as well as the previous ones spent at the Garante as a regulator, hopefully, I brought an interesting contribution to the audience. It was also a pleasure to work again hand-in-hand with DPA officials, today active members of the EDPB.

As a final remark, a special thank you goes to T4DATA’s project coordinator and the foundation Lelio and Lisli Basso. This is a long-standing Italian institution involved in research and training sectors on justice matters, particularly regarding the protection of fundamental rights, including data protection, and whose chairman was the late Professor Stefano Rodotà for more than 20 years.

With this notable project in mind, IAPP Europe should keep on focusing its attention on building fruitful synergies and boosting future discussions by bearing in mind that the best results are only met when achieved with valuable partners.


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