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Greetings from the other side of the Atlantic!

I’m writing this week’s letter from Brussels, Belgium. We just wrapped up the IAPP Europe Data Protection Congress, and it was incredible. It’s a little surreal now that everyone is either returning home or extending their trip for a few days. 

I was excited for this trip for a few reasons. One, it’s my first IAPP conference, so that alone is exciting; two, it’s my first trip to Brussels; and three, for those who don’t know, Brussels is the birth place of the Smurfs! Yes, there is also chocolate, beer and frites, but the Smurfs were a childhood favorite. There are Smurfs everywhere here. As a kid, I think I had enough Smurf figures to start my own village — safely hidden, of course, from Gargamel and Azarel.

The conference surpassed my expectations. Topics ranged from cookie consent and targeted advertising to the draft ePrivacy Regulation to Brexit to children’s privacy and beyond. The closing general session was capped off with the inaugural Giovanni Buttarelli Memorial Lecture given by incoming European Commission Executive Vice President-Designate Margrethe Vestager. Afterward, I heard from several members about how impactful and meaningful that portion of the conference was for them.

Turning back to the states, Senate Democrats from four key committees unveiled principles that could serve as the basis for the nation’s first federal privacy law. The principles include establishing data safeguards, increased competition, strengthening consumer and civil rights, and imposing accountability. At the state level, Washington state legislators plan to introduce a new privacy law next year. The updated law would give citizens increased data rights, create transparency requirements for companies processing data, and include new rules on facial-recognition technology.

A quick reminder that our U.S. office is closed next Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. The U.S. Digest will return Dec. 6. Safe travels if you’re going away, and we wish you a happy Thanksgiving! 


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