Workshop #66 set the stage and sowed the seed perhaps for a somewhat different IGF 2010 – bringing together as it did, a high powered panel including:
- Christine Runnegar, Internet Society
- Hugh Stevenson, Deputy Director for International Consumer Protection, Office of International Affairs, US Federal Trade Commission
- Rafael García Gozalo, Head of the International Department, Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Spain
- Catherine Pozzo di Borgo, Deputy Commissioner of the Government to the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), France
- Joseph Alhadeff, Vice President for Global Public Policy and Chief Privacy Officer for Oracle Corporation
- Rosa Barcelo, Legal Adviser, European Data Protection Supervisor
- Ellen Blackler, Executive Director, Regulatory Planning & Policy, AT&T
- Kevin Bankston, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Pedro Less Andrade, Senior Policy Counsel Latin America, Google Inc.
Moderation duties were shared between:
- Katitza Rodriguez, Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Christine Runnegar, Internet Society
- Cristos Velasco (Remote Moderator)
One of the Workshop’s major objectives was to consider the role of Internet Governance in shaping the future of Privacy, and to develop best practice recommendations. The role of Internet Governance is becoming increasingly critical especially in today’s reapidly evolving environment featuring the now ubiquitous Social Media revolution and the coming hurricane of Cloud Computing for everyone.
In this regard, when we review the implementation and enforcement of existing privacy standards, traditional privacy concepts must be measured against the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow’s digital world.
The key discussion topics expected to have been addressed were:
- Identity and anonymity
- Social networks
- Location data
- Cloud computing
- Privacy enhancing technologies/privacy by design
- Privacy policies
- Law and enforcement
This Workshop certainly lived up to the hype. With a celebrity panel of sorts from the sphere of Internet Privacy, the discussions were intense, thought-provoking and transfixed a packed Opening Day Conference Room, with latecomers being forced to make themselves comfortable on terra forma.
The Internet Society’s Christine Runnegar kicked things off by showcasing the incisive opinions collected – by ISOC – from several thought leaders in this space. The major trend of thinking here focused on the paramount importance and value of privacy in the changing technological and the emerging regulatory environment. Although it was extremely useful to read what these Thought Leaders are saying on the topic, I was a bit disappointed not to have heard from them right then and there so that the packed room could have delved deeper into the reasoning behind some of their opinions. Fortunately, substantial details on these opinions are available here along with the facility to provide comments/feedback
Hugh Stevenson then squared off, with some useful insight focusing on the US FTC’s role in revamping its approach to Privacy and Privacy issues which are likely to include the following three principles:
1. Encouraging businesses to integrate privacy and security into their systems at the”outset, with a focus on prevention and not just reactively after the fact.
2. Simplifying consumer choice and increasing recognition that standard consumer choice is not always helpful in helping consumers to handle their information.
3. Reduction of consumer confusion and helping consumers undertand what is being done with the infomation they use, store and manipulate online.
Other panelists dove deeply and swam gracefully amidst the cut and thrust of this complex debate.
Juicy soundbites heard:
“…one of the big paradigm shifts that I think we need to get our arms around is this idea that privacy is no longer about building a wall to keep the information safe. That’s important, but we see consumers wanting to share, so we need to find a way to let consumers share what they want to share when they have control”
- Ellen Blacker
“I think one of the issues with control is to be careful not to create overly granular expectations of what people should or will control because I think at some point, control becomes too much of a burden also.”
- Joseph Alhadeff
“Search engines should be instruments of freedom, democracy and knowledge.”
- Pedro Less Andrade
All in all, this Workshop #66 created something of a new paradigm for the conversation on privacy and the future of privacy. To the extent that privacy and the Internet are inextricably linked, it seems only natural that as the nature, purpose and even, the essence, of the Internet continues to evolve – and rapidly so … so too must the definition, context and subtext of the privacy conversation.
Brings to mind Heraclitus’ ancient wisdom – “The only thing permanent is change”.
Note 1: The IGF Social Reporting stream for this workshop can be found at http://igf2010.diplointernetgovernance.org/session/ws66.
Note 2: The archived webcast can be clicking on “Archived Webcasts” at http://www.intgovforum.com/
Note 3: Join the discussion … the Feedback/Comments form for this topic on ISOC’s website as well as information on the ongoing ISOC Future of Privacy initiative can be found here