Surveillance, privacy and transatlantic relations. Concluding Remarks.
In March 2015, three keynote speakers addressed a record size audience of about 3000 privacy professionals at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit, only a few blocks from the White House in Washington DC.2 The first one was Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who first interviewed Edward Snowden and played a key role in the subsequent news reports in the Guardian and the Washington Post.
He addressed two questions: 1) how was it to meet Edward Snowden, and 2) what has changed since? His answer to this second, more relevant, question was, put very briefly: at first sight not a great deal, but at further analysis quite a lot. Two aspects of this deeper change are that issues relating to surveillance are now much more the subject of public debate, and the role of the privacy profession in addressing them has become much more obvious.
The second keynote speaker was Michael Sandel, a political philosopher from Harvard with a special reputation in ethical dilemmas. He animated a fascinating Socratic debate with the vast audience on 'why privacy matters'. The third keynote speaker was an historian and curator, Sarah Lewis, who gave a clear answer on this topic from her perspective: privacy is an essential ingredient of creativity and innovation, and she mentioned a series of success stories that were born out of failure.