Updated: Jun 23
The theme of the Global Privacy Assembly’s annual meeting this year is “Ripples, Waves & Currents”. The nautical motif is very appropriate given that the 2023 GPA meeting takes place in Bermuda: a small island of 21 square miles in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Literally, a speck in the ocean that is profoundly impacted by each ripple, wave and current that reaches Bermuda’s shores.
Bermuda’s GPA membership
In September 2020, the Office of the Privacy commissioner for Bermuda (PrivCom) joined the GPA as an accredited member under the helm of the Privacy Commissioner, Alexander White, with full voting rights on joint resolutions and an equal voice to participate in working groups. Today, Commissioner White serves as a member of the GPA Executive Committee (ExCo) and Chair of the Reference Panel.
Through the GPA, PrivCom engages with its international counterparts to enhance Bermuda’s reputation as a regulatory leader and to ensure that its guidance and actions are consistent with standards and best practices around the globe. This benefits individuals, as well as businesses, organisations, and other entities in Bermuda. While individuals benefit because their privacy rights are interpreted according to the high standards of global consensus, organisations benefit through PrivCom’s guidance reflecting consensus best practices. At the same time, PrivCom’s regulatory actions become interoperable standards that suit multiple jurisdictions, promoting consistency and reducing compliance costs.
The GPA’s vision is one in which privacy and data protection authorities around the world can effectively act to fulfil their mandates, both individually and jointly, through liaising, networking, disseminating, and sharing knowledge, experience, and best practice. The GPA promotes and enhances personal data protection and privacy rights at an international level; improves data protection and privacy by providing a forum that encourages dialogue, cooperation and information sharing; drafts and adopts joint resolutions and declarations on subjects that warrant the common interest or concern of accredited members and promotes their implementation; brings together accredited members and other international fora or organisations that share common objectives and goals; encourages and facilitates cooperation and the exchange of information among accredited members, in particular regarding enforcement actions; and promotes the development of international standards in the field of personal data protection.
Ripples, waves, currents & data privacy. Why?
The theme is a powerful metaphor and is appropriate for a variety of other reasons. Here’s why:
First, it underscores the ways in which all GPA members are interconnected, and how the events in one location will radiate outward and impact upon others.
Second, ripples and waves refer to the movement of water. When a stone is thrown into a still body of water, it creates ripples that spread out in all directions. The size and strength of the ripples depend on the size of the stone and the force with which it was thrown. Similarly, waves in the ocean are created by wind and other factors and can travel great distances. Currents refer to the continuous flow of water in a particular direction. Ocean currents are caused by a variety of factors, including wind, temperature differences, and the rotation of the earth.
Third, ripples, waves, currents, and data privacy may not seem related, especially because privacy as a concept refers to the protection of personal information and is a fundamental human right. In the digital age, we generate and share vast amounts of data every day, from our browsing history and social media activity to our financial information and medical records. Data privacy is important because it helps to ensure that this information is kept secure and used only for its intended purpose.
Fourth, a small stone can create ripples that spread out across a body of water. Similarly, a small breach in data privacy can have ripple effects that impact individuals and organisations in unexpected ways. In a similar vein, just as ocean currents can influence the movement of marine life and weather patterns, data privacy regulations and policies can have a significant impact on the way that companies and governments operate and interact with each other.
In short, ripples, waves, currents, and data privacy are all examples of interconnected systems that can have wide-ranging effects. By understanding these connections, we can better appreciate the importance of data privacy and work to ensure that personal information is kept safe and secure in our increasingly digital world.
Click here to learn more about the 45th GPA, scheduled to take place 15th – 20th October 2023 in Bermuda. Registration is coming soon but if you would like to book your hotel in the meantime, click here.
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a sponsor, please contact us at PrivCom@privacy.bm for a sponsorship package.