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Europe Data Protection Digest | Notes from the IAPP Europe Managing Director, 30 Nov. 2018 Related reading: A conversation on protecting children's privacy





Greetings from Brussels!

It’s that time of year once again, when the IAPP hits Brussels "big time." This week was the annual Europe Data Protection Congress, our flagship event for Europe. It seems to me that every edition simply gets bigger, as well as better on all fronts. I thank all those in our community who stopped me in my stride this week to acknowledge their positive experience, as well as to congratulate the team on a job well done. I thank you for your compliments and continued support and, in turn, feel compelled to call out the great team of IAPPers across our global offices who were involved in making this event a resounding success.

EDPB Chairwoman Andrea Jelinek opened up with the first plenary keynote of 2018, touching upon enforcement practice, which would be an underlining thematic for a lot of regulatory-oriented sessions to come, saying that those who've been waiting for big cross-border actions will see action soon. The advent of the GDPR has substantially changed the way national DPAs work. She noted, "Working on the one hand with a focus on national interests, while on the other working collectively as a member of the EDPB."

Another mention of note that resonated with me was her conviction that privacy was on the cusp of going "mainstream" — you’ve probably heard me say I think it is already mainstream. Either way, I concur with the chairwoman. Addressing the 1,900-strong privacy pro audience, she said, “As members of the IAPP community, you are now the ambassadors of privacy.” And she is right; privacy leaders will increasingly play a pivotal role in the strategic direction of their organizations as advocates for robust and meaningful privacy programs. For more updates on the enforcement theme, see Jed Bracy’s dispatch from Brussels.

As you might imagine, Brexit was a big point of discussion throughout the event, as well. What might a final outcome look like? How will it affect data flows? Or enforcement? Having the former British permanent representative to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, keynote here in Brussels could not have been better timed. It is one the finer keynotes I have heard in a while. Perhaps, being based in Brussels, this resonated more with me than most. In any case, without going into particular details, there were some notable mentions by the authoritative Englishman. First, a no-deal scenario would be a catastrophe for all concerned but mainly for the U.K. Second, and importantly for business and privacy pros, he said to be prepared for all contingencies: While there may be a need for an extended transition period, the no-deal Brexit is still a strong possibility.

One thing is sure, a lot can happen in an hour in British politics these days. We will need to exercise calm as this whirlwind subsides.

To those of you that made it to Brussels, we thank you for your patronage and look forward to seeing you all again soon.


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