Privacy as a business risk for top management: Compliance in the credit crunch

06 - 08 July 2009

St. John's College, Cambridge, UK


THE YEAR 2009 marks 25 years after the surveillance society described in George Orwell’s book, 1984. 

Every organisation has to grapple with the challenge posed by privacy risks in our working and personal lives. 

How should privacy managers and advisors guide their organisations to achieve an optimum balance between management control and rights for individuals, including customers and employees?

Privacy issues are increasingly coming to the attention of top management as a business risk, as the loss or lack of attention to personal data has consequences for your organisation’s reputation. Personal data is difficult to value, but we know that its value declines if it is stolen, maliciously attacked, or quietly undermined whether from external or internal sources. It is also a complex process to restore the integrity of personal data if you include not just the back up file but also the impact on people’s lives of damaged data.

Failure to adapt your business model to acknowledge that data protection is a fundamental right in Europe will certainly cause problems for companies used to a more relaxed regime elsewhere. It is ironic that Russia has a comprehensive data protection law before the USA. India’s new data protection law has implications for doing business and outsourcing there. We have speakers from both Russia and India to explain the impact of these laws on business. However, the USA in most states provides a lead on data breach laws and the European Union is following, as we will see in other sessions.

Maintaining the integrity of your personal data protects a key asset in a recession. During these challenging economic times, the theft of business sensitive and confidential information by employees is a realistic threat to companies, particularly when many people fear for their jobs. A recession means a need to obtain better value for money in your privacy work.

We address the cost-cutting agenda throughout the conference.