Martin Abrams

Emeritus Chief Policy Innovation Officer and IAF Founder

Martin Abrams is Emeritus Chief Policy Innovation Officer and founder of The Information Accountability Foundation, a non-profit whose charitable purposes are research and education. Abrams has over 40 years of experience as an information and consumer policy innovator.  

Abrams believes data should serve people. He is currently exploring multi-dimensional proportionality as means to drive trusted innovation, the nature of risk in risk based regulatory structures, and how to incorporate to full range of human interests into data protection, including data protection law fit for the next decade.

Abrams led the Global Accountability Project, which has refined the accountability principle that is part of various data protection laws and guidance documents.  The IAF is the incorporation of that dialogue. All the IAF’s work is an extension of accountability concepts, including the creation of a data taxonomy that was used in setting the bright line rules by the EU policy makers.  His work on accountability has impacted privacy laws in most regions. 

Multi-stakeholder collaboration has been a key for Abrams in developing practical solutions to dilemmas in information policy.   He has been a key player in developing such data protection key concepts as accountability, a two-phase approach to advanced analytics, and ethical assessments.  Abrams’ activities are global with projects, dialogs, and seminars in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the Pacific regions.  

Abrams has also provided leadership in other policy areas. He worked on multilayered privacy notices, which changed the way policymakers and organizations thought about privacy transparency. He has been involved in the development of the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules and has also been involved with the OECD Working Party on Information Security and Privacy. He is an advisor to numerous benchmark corporate privacy programs.

Before founding the IAF, Abrams was the co-founder and President of the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Andrews LLP, which he led for 13 years.   Prior to that, he was Vice President of Information Policy at Experian and Director of Information Policy at TRW Information Systems where he designed one of the early privacy impact assessment tools. He also chaired their Consumer Advisory Council. Abrams began his consumer policy work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland where he was Assistant Vice President and Community Affairs Officer. At the Federal Reserve Bank, he drove collaboration by helping banks and the communities they serve find common ground.