The growing tension between technological innovation and efforts to safeguard privacy is more visible than ever in today’s data economy. Through his work as Hogan Lovells Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Global Co-Head Eduardo Ustaran, CIPP/E, has observed the trend: innovators who see regulations as impeding forward-thinking ideas and regulators who see companies as driven by profits over people.
Hogan Lovells is launching what it hopes will be a solution for that tension: "Privacy 2040." The initiative calls for businesses, policymakers and regulators to collaborate in developing frameworks that support innovation and responsible, forward-thinking privacy and cybersecurity practices.
“My real belief is you can achieve the best of both worlds. You can achieve innovation, you can achieve technical progress and so on, and you can still do it in a way that is protective of people’s data, people’s privacy and addresses the needs that the regulators and policymakers are trying to address,” Ustaran said. “Privacy 2040 is about creating the conditions where these two sides listen to each other. … It is possible to get it right if we listen to each other.”
Privacy 2040 is in its first stage, as the Hogan Lovells team works with clients to identify issues they are concerned about, Ustaran said. Time will tell, but he said an initial analysis shows that includes technologies like artificial intelligence and facial recognition, as well as legislation involving international data transfer mechanisms and regulations like the EU ePrivacy framework.
Strategic actions will follow in the coming months, possibly including written papers, one-on-one meetings, roundtable discussions and events. “It’s interaction,” Ustaran said. “It could be a white paper on AI and privacy or a roundtable with policymakers and engineers, to talk about what privacy by design means.”
While Hogan Lovells’ clients tend to be global companies, Ustaran said the Privacy 2040 initiative could benefit any company in any sector — from technology companies to car manufacturers to retailers to media companies.
“Today, data, the use of data, is an asset to every single organization,” he said. “Every single organization out there relies on data, and it’s been true for so many years that data is such a valuable asset, but it’s never been more obvious than now where every company is transforming itself into a data company.”
And while some may perceive the Privacy 2040 initiative as lobbying, Ustaran said it’s not. Rather, it’s about achieving effective public policy objectives that don't get in the way of technological progress.
The Privacy 2040 name is intentional, he said, as this is a long-term project. Looking to the impact it can have in the coming years, Ustaran said he envisions an environment in which technology innovators are aware of the human significance of their work and regulators can trust companies to do a good job.
“If we move in that direction, if that’s the climate, then we will have succeeded,” he said. “I think it would be a much better world if today’s tension was replaced by trust. We want to be in a position where we feel we have started to resolve the issue.”
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