The Global Privacy Assembly (GPA) is a global forum, whose membership includes more than 130 data protection and privacy authorities from around the world, as well as an impressive list of international observers.
In September 2020, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Bermuda (PrivCom) joined the GPA, which has been in existence for more than four decades, as an accredited member. PrivCom did so 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 Chair of the Reference Panel and a member of the GPA Executive Committee (ExCo) planning and coordinating the gathering.
In 2021, Bermuda was selected as the site of its 45th annual meeting, which means that the GPA is coming to Bermuda this year! When recommending Bermuda as the site of the 2023 annual meeting, the GPA Secretariat stated, “The Executive Committee was particularly impressed with the quality and clarity of Bermuda’s proposal and is convinced that the authority will offer an Annual Meeting in 2023 that will guarantee overall delegate satisfaction.”
Through its GPA membership, 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 organisations, 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 annual general meeting: what is it?
Each year, the GPA’s annual general meeting is structured as a summit where participants discuss relevant data protection and privacy issues and pass resolutions that will guide best practice for the membership in their individual jurisdictions.
The conference agenda 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. The GPA’s previous iterations of the event have attracted 700 - 1500 attendees and recent summits have included entrepreneurs and chief executives from the largest tech companies in the world, including Microsoft and Apple.
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.
Bermuda making a big splash in the world of data privacy
The GPA’s 45th annual meeting will take place at the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club between 15th and 20th October 2023. As discussed in our recent blog post, the nautical motif “Ripples, Waves & Currents” relates not only to the fact that Bermuda is a small island of 21 square miles in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that is profoundly impacted by each ripple, wave, and current that reaches its shores but also to the notion that even a small breach in data privacy can have ripple effects that have a profound, often detrimental impact on individuals and organisations.
The event will provide an opportunity for regulators and policy-makers to meet in person and set the agenda for global technology and data privacy issues. It will also place Bermuda squarely at the centre of the tech world. In addition to the GPA's deliberative sessions, PrivCom will organise general admission sessions and side events hosted by the world's technology and tech policy leaders and work with local vendors and partners to organise dining, shopping, cultural, and recreational activities for attendees and their families. Delegations from sponsor companies, industry partners, and local and international business will also be sure to attend the open session at the event.
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a sponsor, please contact us at PrivCom@privacy.bm for a sponsorship package.