ADAPT Radio: Doubling Down on Data Protection

30 January 2024

In the age of data our private information is currency and digitally trails behind us everywhere we go online. As AI grows in popularity, some fear it may be a threat to our privacy. It’s important we consider how we can best protect ourselves from our valuable information ending up in the wrong hands. 

Today, in light of Data Privacy Week, we’re diving into the week’s theme, ‘Take Control of Your Data’, to ask how we can do that, who the responsibility of protection and regulation lies with and the ways generative AI can be a game changer for data privacy. Our expert is passionate about data protection at an organisational level and is Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer at the International Association of Privacy Professionals, Caitlin Fennessey. This month’s episode is in association with EMPOWER – Data Governance, an academic and industry research programme designed to future proof EU data flows and drive innovations in data protection internationally. 

The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) is a policy-neutral professional association that operates with a global mission to define, promote, and support the privacy profession. Boasting a membership exceeding 80,000 professionals worldwide, the diverse community comprises individuals engaged in organisations, businesses, and governmental roles within civil society. A dedicated research team generates tools, resources, and research to empower privacy professionals in their work. 

During this podcast, Caitlin discusses how the primary impact of generative AI on the privacy field lies within the privacy profession itself. She refers to a research study conducted by the IAPP over a year ago that revealed that in more than half of the instances where organisations were establishing new AI governance programs, privacy professionals were among the first to be called upon to lead and build these programs. They discovered that privacy professionals were not only being called upon but were also utilising privacy tools to address challenges in AI. Privacy professionals had to rapidly acquire expertise in diverse areas and the IAPP sees a huge challenge for organisations in figuring out how to build the trust in AI that will be necessary for its uptake in society.

Caitlin also emphasised the need for regulators and organisations to engage in top-level conversations regarding the structure of various verticals of digital governance. The key focus is on fostering collaboration among regulators across disciplines and sectors with the goal to address digital governance risks more holistically, identifying gaps and avoiding unnecessary risks. Positive signs of progress have been observed both within governments and organisations however a definitive model has not been established yet. The ongoing dialogue involves scrutinising different governance models, assessing what works well, and identifying areas that need improvement. The ultimate aim is to collectively chart a forward path that effectively addresses digital governance risks.

Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

ADAPT Radio: HumanAIse is ADAPT’s newest podcast series providing an in-depth look at the future of AI, automation and the implications of entrusting machines with our most sensitive information and decisions.