40th Annual Data Protection Conference

Reflections on the 40th Annual International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners

Guest Post by Abby Moscatel

It’s been about a week since Rafael and I returned from Europe, where we attended the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners at the European Parliment’s Hemicycle in Brussels, Belgium.

The thought leaders posed the single most important question facing us today: What kind of world do we want to live in? You see, we are at the tipping point where the internet will know more about us than we know about each other, or even ourselves. And yet there is no recognized universal ethical and moral code for how we deal with all of the data that is being collected about us. How do we handle it? Right now, Data Kings hold the cards. Companies provide free services to gather our information.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was correct when he said that we are now in a time where our data is being weaponized. We see it in our news feeds. No matter what you believe, you get socials and content that affirms your position, and makes the opposite position something you must resist.

Tim Cook at the 40th Annual Conference of Data Protection Comissioners

Hong Kong artificial intelligence researcher Pascale Fung was also right when she said that unless we get all of the world leaders together, it won’t matter.

Now, we have the GDPR. And, here in the US, we are starting to get patchwork legislation, like the California Consumer Privacy Act, heavily resisted by Big Tech in favor of a federal privacy law.

I want to live in a world where I own my data, control access to my data, and where I can delete my information. If a company or individual breaks a law, then I want a private right of action. Most importantly, I want to live in a world where we have a universal agreement on digital ethics.

What kind of world do you want to live in?

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