Privacy a ‘defining issue of the age’

Privacy, according to privacy commissioner, John Edwards, has become “one of the defining issues of our age.”

Privacy, according to privacy commissioner, John Edwards, has become “one of the defining issues of our age.”

Edwards, who also chairs the executive committee of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, told the International Telecommunication Union’s Global Standards Symposium (GSS) in Tunisia that privacy policies were now being discussed by the highest levels of government inseveral international fora. “There is no trade-off to be made between enterprise, innovation and privacy,” he said.

According to the ITU the symposium, held on the eve of ITU’s quadrennial World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly (WTSA-16), brought together a diverse range of thought leaders to discuss privacy and security challenges.

“Industry players such as Deutsche Telekom, Google, Huawei, Alibaba, and Symantec as well as representatives from government, civil society and standards development organisations discussed how standards efforts could best integrate the consideration of security, privacy and trust,” ITU said.

ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao said it was becoming increasing difficult to isolate technical issues from policy issues and he expressed the hope that meetings such as the GSS could help bridge gaps between policymakers, industry, and standards-making bodies.

The ITU said several symposium participants had outlined new cybersecurity challenges and called for more high-level international discussion on security standards. “Panellists agreed on the need for rapid and timely sharing of information, but noted a range of reasons why that is difficult.”

It quoted James Snow, Security & Compliance Strategist for Google pointing out that standards development tends to be very slow, but innovation very rapid.

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