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A First Timer’s Privacy Academy

Six months ago, I attended my first IAPP Summit in Washington D.C.  In September, I went to the 2014 IAPP Privacy Academy in San Jose; I have to say that I got a lot more out of this event.  This had very little to do with the actual content and people there, and more to do with my understanding and preparation for the event.

The “First Timer” series of blog posts is written by Ben Siegel, a relative newcomer to the privacy field. In this series Ben will be sharing his observations,  learnings, and experiences  to assist other newcomers.

The Academy had many events similar to those at the Summit, such as classes or networking mixers.  I also participated in organizing and attending the first Young Professionals Networking Event.    With over 20 attendees, many being students studying or beginning to practice privacy law, it was not only a great networking opportunity, but also invigorating to see other young professionals in privacy.  Trevor Hughes, the CEO of the IAPP, stopped by which was very encouraging to everyone there.  Discussions at the event ranged from how we got into privacy, current events, and less privacy related topics, such as taking vacation after the Bar Exam.  It was a great event, and I look forward to similar events at future IAPP conferences.

I also had time to sit in on a few of the sessions, including the Privacy Boot Camp led by Trevor Hughes.  We went over the basic concepts of privacy, and also linking them to some pretty interesting pieces of history.  My favorite example was how prisons were designed with a single guard tower in the middle of all the prison cells.  The idea is that the guard could arguably watch any prisoner at any time, but the prisoners cannot tell who is being watched.  They assume they are always being watched, which changes their behavior, since they cannot know if they are or are not being watched. I would recommend this session for anyone new to privacy at it is given at every major IAPP event.

The conference overall was a great way to meet new privacy professionals and network, but also showed the workings of security and privacy together.  This was a joint event with the CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) with the theme of the whole conference focused on how these different, but closely related worlds, could work together.  I am looking forward to the next IAPP event.