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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Greenleaf, Graham --- "Privacy Commissioners and experts to meet in Hong Kong" [1999] PrivLawPRpr 23; (1999) 5(9) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 180

Privacy Commissioners and experts to meet in Hong Kong

Graham Greenleaf

Each year the world’s privacy and data protection official watchdogs (usually called Privacy Commissioners or Data Protection Commissioners) meet and compare notes. In the last few years the Conferences have involved much more debate and interaction between the ‘official watchdogs’, the business community, and the ‘unofficial’ privacy and civil liberties advocates.

The 21st Conference, hosted by the Hong Kong Commissioner Stephen Lau, has the most diverse and interesting program and range of speakers of any Commissioners’ Conference to date. Hong Kong is the first Asian jurisdiction to enact comprehensive information privacy laws.

The Keynote Speaker at the open sessions on September 13 and 14 is Justice Michael Kirby of Australia’s High Court, speaking on ‘Privacy in the new millennium: A critique of existing privacy standards in the light of technology innovation’.

The Conference has speakers who can be expected to advance very different points of view in sessions such as ‘The EU Directive — a year down the road’; ‘The promises and perils of technology: innovation and privacy’; ‘The emerging law of cyberspace and implications for data protection’; ‘Consumer rights and electronic commerce’; ‘Privacy and the news media’; ‘Public registers — privacy problems and solutions’; ‘The rise of ubiquitous surveillance: what Enemy of the State, Gattaca and Nineteen Eighty Four tell us about our future’; and ‘Law enforcement across boundaries —international police co-operation’.

Among the more controversial experts speaking are Peter Swire (Chief Counsellor for Privacy to the US President), David Flaherty (former British Columbia Privacy Commissioner), Simon Davies (Privacy International), Stephanie Perrin (Industry Canada), Phil Agre (UCLA) and David Banisar (EPIC). We note with pleasure that five members of PLPR’s Editorial Board have been invited to speak: Kirby, Clarke, Stewart, Waters and Greenleaf.

Running in parallel with the main conference (13 September pm and 14 September am) is an Advanced Seminar on ‘IT systems, electronic commerce and data privacy’, designed more for local delegates (personnel, IT managers and so on). It has sessions more of a ‘workshop’ nature on developing privacy policies, use of encryption and authentication technologies and similar matters. The registration fee is HK$1500.

On 15 September the Commissioners meet in closed session, but there is also a meeting of privacy and consumer advocacy NGOs, organised by EPIC and Privacy International, on the theme of ‘A privacy agenda for the 21st century’ (email <> for further information).

Prior to the main Conference there is also a meeting of Asia-Pacific Privacy Commissioners, which will include representatives from a wide range of Pacific Island and Asian countries where privacy laws are yet to develop, as well as from regional countries with more developed privacy laws.

Graham Greenleaf, General Editor.

The 21st International Conference on Privacy and Data Protection: Privacy of Personal Data, Information Technology & Global Business in the Next Millennium; 13-15 September 1999; Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre; Hong Kong SAR; Details on the Conference web site at Program at and IT Seminar details at

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