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You’ve Got Mail: Introducing the “Postcards From…” Blog Series

Some 150 years ago, post offices around the world received the first picture postcards.  Designed to be mailed without envelopes and kept as souvenirs, the photos themselves brought news.  They were decorated with the images of the day – the newly constructed Eiffel Tower perhaps or the happenings at the Chicago World’s Fair. 

These days, when I travel, I still like the tradition of picking up a few postcards from the hotel gift shop; to me, they represent a snapshot in time of places seen, people met, and things accomplished.

NAI is launching a new blog series this week with the same idea.  Titled “Postcards from…,” the series is intended to give our readers real-time, up-to-date information on NAI’s activities, across the country and around the world, on behalf of our members.  We hope these posts will be fun, informative, and inspiring.

First up – Postcards from… Maine.

The NAI staff and Board of Directors recently returned from a two-day trip to Portland, Maine, where we conducted our second annual Strategic Board Meeting and Retreat (photos below). We accomplished a lot in two short days thanks to our amazing, talented, smart, energetic, and fun Board.  I was really impressed with the level of thought, preparation, and commitment all of the Board members put into the meeting. Particular thanks go out to the new Board members, who jumped right in and participated as the experienced privacy pros they are!

In addition to our slate of outstanding Board members, we were also thrilled to welcome some esteemed guests for a true consumer privacy master class.  Trevor Hughes (CEO, IAPP), Omer Tene (VP, IAPP), and Jules Polonetsky (CEO, FPF) attended part of our meeting and shared their thoughts on the state of consumer privacy in the world today.  They offered an amazing history lesson on our industry.  And we were fortunate to get guidance on NAI’s future from those who were so integral to NAI’s past.

Here are some takeaways from our discussions:

  • NAI should maintain its focus on building an unimpeachable infrastructure and record of integrity.
  • NAI should continue efforts to educate regulators, both in the US and throughout the world, on the industry and the work we’re doing.  The NAI staff, Board members, and member companies should lead this effort as the smartest people in the world on these issues.
  • NAI should foster open communications with platform providers.  We are right now trying to find coordination and collaboration on consumer privacy and technology solutions with the platforms that provide the infrastructure of our ecosystem.
  • NAI should retain its commitment to transparency.  The issues facing our industry are not new, even if technology is.  Organizations like NAI are more important than ever, and transparency among companies and with outside media is a core benefit of NAI.
  • NAI should allow for evolution in the classifications of PII and non-PII.  We should focus privacy efforts on the transparency of data use, and allow additional uses for de-identified or pseudonomized data, rather than trying to retain potentially dated definitions that no longer realistically protect privacy in today’s marketplace.

It is clear that we have a lot to do! As is the norm for us, we have put forth an aggressive list of goals and targets for NAI over the next year or two. The NAI staff and I stand ready to put in work to achieve our goals, and we will be counting on NAI Board and our members for support and guidance along the way.

In short, regardless of the current regulatory environment in the U.S., we have no intention of taking our foot off of the gas in our quest to provide strong guidance and principled stances on consumer privacy measures.  The NAI staff agrees strongly with this position, and we really appreciated the remarks of the Board and our esteemed guests in support of that stance.

Please look for additional communications as we work to execute on the vision laid out for NAI so ably by the Board; we will be posting updates and important information in these blog posts, in our bi-weekly newsletter, and in upcoming webinars.

Next up…Hong Kong!  I am heading to Hong Kong next week where I will have the privilege of being NAI’s representative to the 39th Annual International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. This year’s meeting will focus on “Connecting West with East in Protecting and Respecting Data Privacy.”  I have sharpened pencils in my bag and will pick up some postcards.  Stay tuned.

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