Author Archives: Martin Abrams

IAF Takes Education to the Enforcement Agencies

The Information Accountability Foundation (IAF) held a seminar with and for the Colombia Superintendent of Industry and Commerce (SIC) on March 7, 2018 that was attended by 35 members of the SIC data protection staff. The seminar is a continuation of the IAF’s Digital University that takes the IAF’s research directly to policymakers and implementers. The SIC is the data protection enforcement agency in Colombia.

Maria Claudia Caviedes Mejia, SIC Deputy Superintendent, and Martin Abrams

The seminar focused on accountability as a guiding principle for effective data protection in an observational age. SIC published a guidance circular in 2015 on accountability that emphasized the role of accountability in a data protection program. The seminar purpose was to provide additional substance on how the accountability principle works in effect.

The IAF team included Martin Abrams, IAF executive director, Scott Taylor from Merck, Victoria Anzola from Segge, and Jose Alejandro Bermudez from Bermudez Legal.

Abrams presented on the Essential Elements of Accountability and their meaning in a data era where observation and analytics play a prominent role. He was followed by Taylor who spoke on governance and the questions a regulator might ask to measure the presence of an accountability based program. Victoria Anzola, who runs a Colombia based consultancy for SMEs, discussed how accountability is implemented in smaller enterprises. Bermudez discussed accountability in a South American context. The program closed with a second Abrams presentation on the key role accountability plays when data is available across borders.

The IAF is a non-profit whose charitable purpose is research and education. It is the incorporation of the Global Accountability Dialogue that facilitated the Essential Elements of Accountability. The Digital University is a proactive initiative to take IAF research and objective content of how digital processes actually work for the sole purpose of informing policymaker and implementer audiences. It is predicated on the notion that government and regulatory agencies often do not have the budget to attend educational conferences and that knowledge needs to be taken to them. The IAF and Digital University operate in all regions and actively collaborate with other organisations interested in informed information policy. For more information about IAF and Digital University, contact Martin Abrams at

Guidance and Un-Legislated Law

In 2016 and 2017, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (WP29) adopted Action Plans which set forth its global implementation strategy related to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  Pursuant to these Action Plans, the WP29 has produced seven Guidelines and has indicated it will produce at least eight more.  As the data protection… Continue Reading

Martin Abrams’ Remarks — 39th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners

My thanks to the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners and to our colleagues at the Hong Kong Commission for this opportunity to discuss data ethics. I would also like to dedicate this session to Joe Alhadeff who recently passed after a long battle with cancer. Joe was a wise friend to us… Continue Reading

Accountability Does Work

143,000,000 people were the victims of a recent data breach when their data was stolen from Equifax, a company that has an obligation to keep their data safe. Data security is tough. The bad guys only need to be successful once, while companies need to win every time. However, from the perspective of many consumers,… Continue Reading

IAF Releases Ethical Guidance for Artificial Intelligence at Commissioners’ Conference

The terms ethics and ethical data processing are in vogue. With the rapid growth of innovative data-driven technologies and the application of these innovations to areas that can have a material impact on people’s daily lives, enhanced corporate governance focused on ethical objectives is needed. Particularly where data enabled decisions are made without the intervention… Continue Reading

A Data Protection Risk Assessment Is About Ethics – Join IAF Webinar

A Data Protection Risk Assessment Is About Ethics —- Join IAF Webinar Webinar September 6, 2017 We have never read a privacy or data protection law that requires controllers be ethical. Yet implicitly new laws are driving expectations that organizations using data robustly do so in an ethical fashion. What does that mean? The European… Continue Reading

Europe Sets the Standard – Other Regions Follow

Europe Sets the Standard – Other Regions Follow The Ibero-American Data Protection Network (“network”) adopted “Standards for Personal Data Protection for Ibero-American States“ (“SPDP”) on June 20, 2017 at its meeting in Santiago, Chile, with the official English translation now available. Most data protection experts have predicted that the adequacy provisions of the European General… Continue Reading

The Colombia Congress Matters

There seems to be a privacy conference every week in the United States or Europe. However, privacy training and policy development in Latin America is not nearly as well developed as that in the United States and Europe. Latin America has one annual conference that is clearly considered the conference of conferences. It is organized… Continue Reading

We lost A True Mensch – Joe May You Rest In Peace

This weekend Joe Alhadeff passed away after a long bout with cancer. Joe is a founder of the Information Accountability Foundation, just one of a number of organizations that he saw as providing solutions to an increasing complex set of eco-systems.  He has been a colleague of mine for well over a decade.  He was… Continue Reading

Assessments are the Hub of a Forward-Looking Data Protection Program

The term assessments appear a great deal in IAF work. We have written about comprehensive data impact assessments, ethical assessments, digital marketing assessments, Canadian assessments and legitimate interests assessments. All these references are part of the same theme; a family of comprehensive assessments of how data is used and how it impacts individuals is necessary… Continue Reading