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  • Emily Leach

Recap: The IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2019

Last week saw the Sentinel team head to Washington, DC, for the IAPP’s Global Privacy Summit 2019. For me, it was the 11th I’ve attended in the past 12 years — but notably the first time I’ve been an exhibitor, as opposed to an IAPP staffer.

I always wondered how much value exhibitors got from IAPP conferences — are people really interested in what you’re selling, or do they just want the free ipad? Well, I can now attest that a lot of attendees are truly struggling to manage privacy within their organizations; and if it sounds like you can help, they’re very interested. There are some shell-shocked privacy pros in this world for whom the Sentinel message of “get off the hamster wheel of compliance” resonated quite well.

I spoke with a few U.S.-based privacy pros who thought they’d squeaked by because they don’t handle European data, only to find themselves firmly in the grip of CCPA and a little overwhelmed. (A “do-not-sell-my-personal-information button,” really?!?) With copy-cat proposals springing up across the country and serious talk of a federal law, they’re no longer feeling quite so lucky.

But there’s hope on the horizon for those privacy pros: The exhibit hall was chock-a-block full of vendors eager to solve all their privacy challenges. (And yet still, so many confessions of spreadsheets and word docs!) From my layperson’s view, I would say it’s the most exhibitors ever at Summit — i.e., the largest exhibit hall ever at the largest privacy conference ever, held by the largest association of privacy professionals ever (the IAPP hit 50,000 members recently). Not bad. And not surprising either with the complex environment privacy teams are expected to navigate.

It’s likely we’ll be saying the same thing next year too, as a Research and Markets report predicts growth at a CAGR of 13.7% in the privacy management software market, meaning by 2027 it will be a $1,585.8M industry.

As usual, the IAPP put on one heck of a show. Kicking it all off with my own personal privacy hero danah boyd was pretty exciting. Having two teenage boys, her thought leadership has guided me in conversations and decisions about how to tackle the challenge of kids and social media for years. And Margaret Atwood, one of my all-time favorite authors, in the final keynote session was thought-provoking in her questions around surveillance in today’s world. Another exceptional component of the conference deserving of mention is that all the keynote speakers were women. Bravo, IAPP.

The team at Sentinel is looking forward to the IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium in a few weeks. If you’re going and would like to schedule a demo of our new privacy program management tool, Ethos, email Aaron Stevens.

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