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The 45th GPA: the final countdown

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

The 45th Global Privacy Assembly (GPA) is finally here! Since March 2023, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (PrivCom) has been bringing you regular monthly blog posts about the GPA in an effort to raise general awareness of one of the largest privacy events, the importance of the institution, and the significance of the annual meeting coming to Bermuda.


In this sixth and final part of our GPA-themed series, let us run you through the final agenda and hone in on some of the key points regarding the GPA.


What’s on the agenda of the Annual Meeting?

This year’s agenda features the Open Session (Sunday 15th – Wednesday 18th October) and the Closed Session (Wednesday 18th – Friday 20th October).


Sunday 15 October 2023

On Sunday evening, after the event welcome from Rena Lalgie, Her Excellency the Governor of Bermuda, and the opening keynote address from Dr. Charlotte Andrews, The Bermuda National Trust’s Head of Cultural Heritage, the GPA starts with an opening panel that zooms in on data protection and privacy in the Caribbean region. Rarely discussed at global privacy events of this format, the theme of the first panel is likely to set the tone not only for the welcome reception, but the whole event. It is followed by the opening reception, hosted by PrivCom, and sponsored by Bacardi Ltd, and a performance by the Gombeys.


Monday 16 October 2023

On Monday morning, after the opening declaration and welcome from Bermuda’s Minister of Tourism and Cabinet Office, The Hon. Vance Campbell, JP, MP, the Open Session’s highlights include the following:


“Clear and Present Harms”, a panel moderated by Commissioner Patricia Kosseim, IPC Ontario, Canada; “Advancing Technology Policy”: A Fireside Chat with Deidre K. Mulligan, Principal Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)’s Technology Policy team and Future of Privacy Forum CEO Jules Polonetsky;

“Shifting Focus – Looking Towards AI and Emerging Technologies”, a panel moderated by Caitlin Fennessy, VP and Chief Knowledge Officer at the IAPP, and Brenda Leong, Partner, BNH, AI; and

“Public Data, Free for All? Global Advances in Protecting Publicly Available Personal Data”, an exclusive side-event sponsored by Future of Privacy Forum.


Tuesday 17 October 2023

Tuesday’s highlights include, for example, the following panels:

“Indigenous perspectives on Privacy”, moderated by Commissioner Michael McEvoy, OPIC BC, Canada;

“A Call to Action”, moderated by Commissioner Alexander White, PrivCom, Bermuda; and

“AI and Society: Opportunities and Challenges for Responsible AI Development”, a side-event sponsored by Meta.


Wednesday 18 October 2023

Wednesday’s highlights include “Risk Assessments, Responsibility of Different Parties, and Transparency”, a side-event by the Centre for Information Leadership (CIPL).


Thursday features an exclusive side event entitled "A Practical Privacy Chat" (The Privacy Pro), which is open to all registrants.


All registrants can attend all the events taking place as part of the Open Session.


The agenda also features lightning talks. For the full agenda and all the panels and side-events, see here.


What is the GPA?

The Global Privacy Assembly (GPA) is a global forum that brings together more than 130 data protection and privacy watchdogs worldwide and seeks to provide leadership in data protection and privacy. The GPA has been in existence for more than four decades: it first met in 1979 as the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. 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.


What is the GPA annual general meeting?

Each year, the annual general meeting for the GPA is structured as a summit to discuss relevant data protection issues and pass resolutions that will guide best practice for the membership in their individual jurisdictions. The programme consists of a Closed Session and an Open Session. While only accredited GPA members and observers attend the Closed Session, the Open Session is attended by a wider audience, including people from the data protection and privacy community, businesses, a range of industries, members of civil society, academia, and government representatives.


Bermuda’s GPA membership

In September 2020, PrivCom joined the GPA as an accredited member under the helm of Commissioner White, with full voting rights on joint resolutions and an equal voice to participate in working groups.​ Commissioner White serves as a member of the GPA Executive Committee (ExCo) and Chair of the Reference Panel. In 2021, Bermuda was selected as the site of its 45th annual meeting.

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. 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. PrivCom’s regulatory actions become interoperable standards that suit multiple jurisdictions, promoting consistency and reducing compliance costs.


What are some of the key topics?

Alongside the cross-cutting theme of proactive, interdisciplinary, and multisectoral collaboration, a wide range of data protection- and privacy-related topics are discussed, including the latest developments in technology and the accelerated use of a wide variety of technological tools, artificial intelligence (AI), algorithmic programming, automated decision-making, blockchain, metaverse, big data analysis and cross-border data transfers. Exploration of these topical issues brings to the foreground the urgency of creating a robust, dynamic regulatory framework compatible with best practice international standards. These conversations are crucial to understanding the ethical management of data and the protection and guarantee of human rights.


#GPABDA: Ripples, Waves, and Currents

The theme of the 45th GPA is “Ripples, Waves & Currents”. The nautical motif is very appropriate given that the annual 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. The theme is a powerful metaphor and is appropriate for several reasons. 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.


There’s still time to register for the GPA annual meeting!


Interested in sponsoring the event, a coffee break or lunch? Contact us for details regarding sponsorship packages at 543-7748 or PrivCom@privacy.bm.

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