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The Privacy Advisor | The 'great big puzzle' of global privacy Related reading: Debevoise & Plimpton's Kelly leading on AI advisory work



Editor's Note:

The IAPP “Profiles in Privacy” series features a monthly conversation with a notable privacy professional to discuss their journey in privacy, challenges and lessons learned along the way, and more.

Around the world — from Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Canada, to the EU, the U.S. and beyond — lawmakers are increasingly considering and advancing regulations around privacy, data protection and artificial intelligence, alongside a growing body of principles and codes of conduct.


Bianca Marcu

"They all sort of fit together in this great big puzzle that is global privacy," said Bianca Marcu, who joined the Future of Privacy Forum earlier in June as policy manager for global privacy.

Marcu is the former managing director of the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection Conference in Brussels, where she led programming for the conference's panel sessions on the latest developments in data protection and privacy in the EU and beyond. She was also researcher in law at the Law, Science, Technology and Society Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, counseling on the compliance of AI tools for scientific and political research purposes with data protection law.

In her work with FPF, Marcu said she will continue to be based in Brussels and will "help to continue to grow the global footprint of the global privacy team and their brilliant work."

"The global privacy team, under the wonderful and expert leadership of Dr. Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna, has really grown to reflect the true significance and impact in all regions of the world in data protection law and policy," Marcu said. "In addition to the wonderful team in the U.S., there are teams growing in the Asia-Pacific (region), Europe and Latin America. I will be highlighting a lot of the teams' work and supporting them with their policy and legal research."

In addition to law and policy advancements, Marcu said the team is closely watching developments in areas like privacy-enhancing technologies, in coordination with technical experts, privacy engineers and data scientists in the space.

"So really a broad range of things that I'll be following alongside the team," Marcu said. "Going from law and policy to the more technical matters. That's going to be exciting, as you can imagine."

In the privacy, data protection and technology space, Marcu said it's "almost impossible" to not be aware of the FPF's work, and she saw the opportunity to join the team as an exciting one.

"I've always been based in the EU and I'm very familiar with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, and with data protection law and policy and digital policy more broadly in the EU, and I thought having the opportunity to expand my knowledge beyond the borders of the EU and into different regions of the world would be exciting and challenging, from a personal and professional perspective," she said.

While leading programming for the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection Conference, Marcu connected with many different organizations and individuals within the data protection and privacy ecosystem, from the public and private sectors to civil society and academia. She enjoyed the "multistakeholder element," including the opportunity to attend events and conferences where she connected with professionals and experts in the latest debates and challenges facing the field.

"All of these events and conferences have been a huge help in my career in terms of learning and mentorship," she said. "You have the opportunity to hear from very senior people in the academic, public and private sectors that you might not otherwise. It's been an amazing way to learn. The privacy community is really open, really welcoming, and that's been the greatest mentorship."

Marcu started her career in data protection and advocacy in the Netherlands, working as senior advocacy and standards programmes coordinator at ESOMAR, an international association representing the data analytics and market research sectors. Marcu was a member of the professional standards and advocacy team, where she said data protection and privacy "became huge issues," particularly as she joined just before the GDPR entered into force.

"It was an opportunity to learn something new. I loved data protection and (data protection officer) work from the beginning. I was quite familiar with the human rights and fundamental rights element of it, which is so much at the center of data protection law in the EU, and, from that sense, it allowed me the opportunity to dive deeper into the right to personal data protection and the right to privacy in EU law," she said.

Now, she is looking forward to bringing all her experience to FPF.

"I have the opportunity to bring everything together and continue to learn and improve from here," Marcu said. "I'm also really humbled to be around so many experts in law and policy at FPF and am looking forward to learning from them."

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