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December 2020
  • Future Thinking
  • FPF News Highlights
  • FPF in the Media
  • FPF Movers & Shakers
  • Upcoming Events
  • Additions to the Team
Future Thinking

With Thanksgiving behind us, and in the midst of the holiday season, I wanted to express our thanks to each of you for helping us not only get through 2020 together, but to thrive and learn even during a global pandemic. 
First and foremost, I am thankful for our FPF staff. Our team has produced engaging events, thought-provoking analysis, and insightful reports under the ongoing pressures of the pandemic, even as privacy-related issues have become more challenging and relevant than ever before.
I’m thankful for our Advisory Board members for providing us with their acumen, their experience, and the expertise of their powerful networks.
I’m thankful for all of our supporters who enable us to continue our focus on the most relevant and important privacy issues.
Finally, I am also thankful for FPF’s critics. They spur us to refine our ideas and the way we see the world. Ultimately, we’re all working toward a world that benefits from innovation while protecting human dignity and autonomy.
On behalf of everyone at FPF, we hope you have a great holiday season! Best wishes for 2021!

- Jules Polonetsky, FPF CEO

FPF News Highlights

FPF and the Brussels Privacy Hub Host 4th Annual Brussels Privacy Symposium

On December 2, 2020, the fourth iteration of the Brussels Privacy Symposium, “Research and the Protection of Personal Data Under the GDPR,” took place as a virtual international meeting where industry privacy leaders, academic researchers, and regulators discussed the present and future of data protection in the context of scientific data-based research and in the age of COVID. The virtual event is the latest aspect of an ongoing partnership between FPF and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

Keynote speakers were Malte Beyer-Katzenberger, Policy Officer at the European Commission; Dr. Wojciech Wiewiórowski, the European Data Protection Supervisor; and Microsoft's Cornelia Kutterer. Other notable speakers and participants included FPF CEO Jules Polonetsky, VUB Professor Christopher Kuner, FPF Senior Counsel Dr. Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna, EDHEC Business School Professor Gianclaudio Malgieri, and others. Their presentations sparked engaging conversations on the complex interactions between data protection and research as well as the ways in which processing of sensitive data can present privacy risks, and also unearth covert bias and discrimination. Thank you to the 2020 sponsors of the Brussels Privacy Symposium, BigID and TomTom.

Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act Shifts Away from a Consent-Centric Framework

The Singapore Parliament passed amendments to its Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA) on November 2, 2020, making it the first comprehensive review and change of this law since its enactment in 2012.

In a new blog post, Dr. Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna, Caroline Hopland, and Hunter Dorwart address the key changes to the Act, including that consent is required for collecting and otherwise processing personal data, how accountability has been enhanced, the introduction of a right to data portability, and new requirements to notify affected parties about data breaches.  

California’s Prop 24, the “California Privacy Rights Act,” Passed. What’s Next?

November 3rd, 2020 produced an important moment for privacy legislation: California voters approved Proposition 24, better known as the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). Garnering 56.1% of the vote, the initiative will become the new law of the land in California. 

Stacey Gray, Katelyn Ringrose, Polly Sanderson, and Veronica Alix released a blog post that explores the implications of a new privacy agency in California, analyzes significant aspects of the law, and predicts how CPRA could influence other state and federal privacy bills. The authors also lay out a timeline for the bill's next steps before it becomes operative in 2023.

Digital Data Flows Masterclass: Machine Learning and Speech

On December 9, 2020, FPF hosted an intermediate-level Digital Data Flows Masterclass on Machine Learning and Speech. During the event, participants gained insights into the technology powering voice-based digital assistants; the differences between supervised, semi-supervised, and unsupervised machine learning (ML); and how different ML training approaches lead to different technical and non-technical performance outcomes.

Subject matter experts included Professor Marine Carpuat from the University of Maryland and Dr. Prem Natarajan, Vice President, Alexa AI-NU. The event was moderated by FPF's Dr. Sara Jordan and Dr. Rob van Eijk.

FPF and LGBT Tech Host LinkedIn Live on Human Rights Day

This Human Rights Day, December 10, FPF and LGBT Tech hosted a special conversation on LGBTQ+ rights to privacy. Discussion included the many beneficial uses of SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) data, as well as the risks posed by its collection, use, and sharing. The speakers also addressed current gaps in legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as outlining important steps companies and policymakers can take to protect sensitive SOGI data.

The event was moderated by Jules and featured experts including LGBT Tech Executive Director & Co-Founder, Chris Wood; LGBT Tech Deputy Director & General Counsel, Carlos Gutierrez; President of FPF, Christopher Wolf; FPF Policy Counsel, Dr. Sara Jordan; and FPF Christopher Wolf Diversity Law Fellow, Katelyn Ringrose,

FPF and the National Education Association Call for Review of Mandatory Video Policies in Online Learning

Casey Waughn, Anisha Reddy and Juliana Cotto from FPF, and Antwan Perry, Donna Harris-Aikens, and Justin Thompson at the National Education Association released new recommendations for the use of video conferencing platforms in online learning. The recommendations ask schools and districts to reconsider requiring students to have their cameras turned on during distanced learning. These requirements create unique privacy and equity risks for students, including increased data collection, an implied lack of trust, and conflating students’ school and home lives.

“Mandating the use of video requires students to share more about their private home lives than they may want to, from their living situation to who they live with, creating potential social harm,” said Amelia Vance, FPF’s Director of Youth and Education Privacy, "Video can be a helpful tool in online learning, but it shouldn’t be a mandatory one – or the only one – that educators use to engage with and assess students.”

FPF Analyzes New Brookings Report on Paths to Federal Privacy Legislation

The Brookings Institution released a new report, "Bridging the gaps: A path forward to federal privacy legislation," a comprehensive analysis of the most challenging obstacles to Congress passing a comprehensive federal privacy law. FPF's Stacey Gray and Polly Sanderson published a blog post that discusses how the Brookings report addresses the two “endgame issues,” enforcement and preemption, in a path towards federal privacy legislation. 

The Brookings proposal concludes by suggesting a potential compromise for enforcement: a tiered and targeted private right of action which would require potential plaintiffs to exercise a “right of recourse” before bringing a suit. The report also proposes several potential compromises to attempt to bridge the gaps between Democratic and Republican bills on preemption. One compromise would be to preempt state laws only where they interfere with federal provisions specifically related to data collection, processing, transfers, and security.

Global Policy Framework for Ethical Smart Cities

The G20 Smart Cities Alliance debuted a new "Global Policy Framework for Ethical Smart Cities" as part of the November 17th virtual Smart City Expo World Congress. FPF is an institutional partner of the G20 Smart Cities Alliance and FPF's Kelsey Finch co-led the task force that developed one of the initial model policies in the Global Framework.

Implications of a New U.S Administration

FPF has hosted several events looking ahead to the policy implications of a new Administration and Congress in 2021, including a roundtable discussion where Jules was joined by Jonathan Baron, Principal of Baron Public Affairs, a leading policy and political risk strategist, as well as FPF's Global and Europe leads, Dr. Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna and Rob Van Eijk. In addition, Jules; FPF Senior Fellow Peter Swire; VP of Policy John Verdi; and Senior Counsel Stacey Gray also held a briefing with members of the media to discuss expectations on what the Biden administration, FTC, and states will accomplish on privacy in the coming year. IAPP published an article summarizing the briefing.

Jules and other FPF staff have hosted several LinkedIn Live sessions regarding recent privacy news and events. Make sure to check FPF social media pages on Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as Jules' LinkedIn page for upcoming Live sessions in the coming months.

FPF in the Media
NBC Think
Covid school closings raise privacy concerns for students and teachers
The Tampa Bay Times
Pasco’s sheriff uses grades and abuse histories to label school children potential criminals
'The Companies Are Fatigued': What Prop 24 Will Mean For California Businesses

U.S. News
Is Your Data Safe When Applying for Financial Aid?
The Wall Street Journal
Podcast: Teacher's New Assistant: Artificial Intelligence
Biometric Update
Chinese court rules in favor of biometric data privacy complaint as regulations tighten

FPF Community Movers & Shakers

FPF is pleased to welcome new Advisory Board members:

  • Brendon Lynch, Chief Privacy Officer, Airbnb
  • Marjorie Wilson, Global Head of Privacy, Data Protection Officer, Spotify
We are also pleased to announce Hims & Hers, Red Ventures (CNET, Healthline, Lonely Planet and more), and Sourcepoint as new Supporters.

Congratulations to FPF Advisory Board Member Fernando Laguarda for being awarded the Innovation in Pedagogy Award from the Washington College of Law at American University. This award recognizes exceptional creativity and innovation in instruction, including but not limited to, the use of technology.

Congratulations to FPF Advisory Board Member Danielle Citron for joining the University of Virginia’s Faculty of Law.

FPF Advisory Board member Peter Lefkowitz, Chief Privacy & Digital Risk Officer at Citrix, was interviewed as part of a recent podcast from Orrick, an FPF supporter. In the podcast, Peter Lefkowitz discusses a path for the United States to expand its focus beyond topical privacy issues, including social media, and place healthcare and financial services in the spotlight.  

Anonos is offering two resources related to GDPR compliant pseudonymization particularly related to Schrems II: a Schrems II LinkedIn Group and Schrems II Executive Briefing Portal.

FPF is hiring an EU Policy Fellow. This entry-level position will work directly with the Managing Director for Europe and Senior Fellow for Global Privacy Developments and European Data Protection Law and Policy.
Upcoming Events
Privacy Book Club - February 1, 2021

The FPF Privacy Book Club is virtual, and book club members can join the discussion by using the virtual conference dial-in, which will include a video chat, phone line, and an online chat. You can join the Privacy Book Club by registering here. For our January book club, we will be discussing The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet by Jeff Kosseff.

PEPR 2021 Conference on Privacy Engineering Practice and Respect - June 10-11, 2021

PEPR is focused on designing and building products and systems with privacy and respect for their users and the societies in which they operate. The goal of the conference is to improve privacy practices and respect as well as to foster a deeply knowledgeable community of both privacy practitioners and researchers who collaborate towards that goal. PEPR 2021 is sponsored by FPF and Carnegie Mellon University Security and Privacy Institute, and is presented in cooperation with USENIX and IAPP.
Additions to the Team
Jim Siegl, CIPT: Jim is a Senior Technologist with the Youth & Education Privacy team. For nearly two decades prior to joining FPF, Jim was a Technology Architect for the Fairfax County Public School District with a focus on privacy, security, identity management, interoperability, and learning management systems. He was a co-author of the CoSN Privacy Toolkit and the Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) seal program and holds a Master of Science in the Management of Information Technology from the University of Virginia.
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