About IAF

Welcome to the Information Accountability Foundation

Foundation Mission:

The Foundation is the preeminent global information policy think tank that successfully works with regulatory authorities, policymakers, business leaders, civil society and other key stakeholders around the world to help frame and advance data protection law and practice through accountability-based information governance. Our goal, through active consultations and research, is to achieve effective information governance systems to facilitate information-driven innovation while protecting individuals’ rights to privacy and autonomy.

Areas of Focus for the Information Accountability Foundation

I. Push information accountability and data stewardship as the key components of organisational information policy

The Foundation will strive to institutionalise accountability and data stewardship as the key components of privacy governance. The Foundation will partner with other organisations to establish a consensus view on addressable definitions of risks to individuals from processing data that pertains to individuals. The Foundation will hold programs in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia.

II. Work towards big data governance based on accountability that protects individuals and facilitates innovation

Big data and advanced analytics are the generators of economic growth in the 21st Century. However big data can only deliver on its promise if information governance based on accountability is in place. The Foundation will work with other like-minded organisations to further this work. It will also work with enforcement agencies to assure effective data protection and innovation at the same time.

III. Help establish data protection enforcement concepts that enhance protection and minimise impediments to the free flow of data

Accountability is not just about changed behaviour by data users. It is about improving the processes at enforcement agencies as well. The Foundation will work with agencies to help them oversee more effective data stewardship processes such as risk assessments and information privacy by design. The Foundation will also encourage agency education of business pertaining to agency visions of comprehensive privacy programs.

IV. Help develop methodologies for parsing data purposes to assure they are fair and in context

When is it appropriate to use data for a purpose not anticipated at original collection? This is a key question confronting both users and enforcement agencies in an age where re-purposing data creates huge benefits in areas as diverse as medical research and internet security. The Foundation will facilitate multi-stakeholder discussions and will sponsor scholarly research to move the privacy community to actionable guidance.

V. Make progress in developing the capacity of various players in the data protection community so that they may play their crucial roles in the governance that is both protective and innovation enhancing

Education is key to the Foundation’s mission. It will bring its content to international privacy venues and encourage workshops on best practices. It will hold discussions with participating organisations on current developments in data governance.

VI. Pursue policymaker engagement in Latin America and Asia on the key role of information accountability in privacy protection

New data protection laws are being enacted throughout Asia and Latin America. Many are modelled on legacy laws that emphasised individual autonomy at a time when observational technologies make consent based governance problematic. The Foundation will work with all stakeholders to emphasise enforceable organisational responsibility and interoperability between systems.

VII. Engage the data user community to enhance their knowledge and ability to use the concepts developed at the Foundation

Sharing the Foundation’s work is a key to its success. The Foundation will have an interactive website that will feature its scholarship and the scholarship of others. The site will also allow stakeholders to share their views. The Foundation will be an active speaker at conferences and will comment on key developments in the privacy community.

The Information Accountability Foundation received approval from the IRS on November 20, 2013 for its status at a 501(c)(3) charitable organisation.

Essential Elements of Accountability
  1. Organisation commitment to accountability and adoption of internal policies consistent with external criteria.
  2. Mechanisms to put privacy policies into effect, including tools, training and education.
  3. Systems for internal ongoing oversight and assurance reviews and external verification.
  4. Transparency and mechanisms for individual participation.
  5. Means for remediation and external enforcement.

Click below to access the Essential Elements of Accountability PDF

The Essential Elements of Accountability