Information Impact Assessments Key to Protection with Innovation

Data must be used to improve global healthcare, economic opportunity, freedom of choice and expression, and functionality of markets. Data must be governed to assure the full range of interests and rights that are the basis of free democracies in the 21st century. Among those interests is the freedom from digital predestination–where probability alone determines who we will be tomorrow.

In an always-on, sensor-rich world, when data is increasingly used beyond the reasonable understanding or expectations of individuals, neither individual consent nor corporate paternalism alone will succeed. More and more, we at the IAF see comprehensive Information Impact Assessments (“IIAs”) as the means of determining whether processing is legal, fair and just and of establishing obligations relating to data and data use. Those IIAs support a legitimate interest framework. IIAs are the means of operationalizing data protection impact assessments.

The IAF will join the Conference Board’s Chief Privacy Officers Council on 24 March 2016 for the first U.S. discussion of a vision for legitimate interests that balances the full range of individuals’ interests and not just those of the data user. The session will be held in Santa Clara and is open to all members of the Conference Board Council and the IAF family. This session is part of the IAFs four-point strategy for legitimate interests:

  1. Developing an assessment process that incorporates legitimate interests that would be evaluated by European stakeholders and that would inform European policy discussions;
  2. Creating a project in Canada that would explore effectively making a mechanism similar to legitimate interests function as a means to use data beyond the expectations of reasonable persons;
  3. Leading a dialogue in Colombia to explore how legitimate interests might be developed as part of Colombian statutory and constitutional law;
  4. Exploring the synergy between an assessment process that incorporates legitimate interests and the processes for assessing whether processing in the United States is unfair.

The Canadian and Colombian projects are in their initial stages. The session in Santa Clara will kick-off the U.S. project. Partners for the work in Europe are actively being sought.

If you are interested in attending the 24 March discussion, please contact us at If you are interested in the other work, we would be delighted to speak with you. IAF believes this work is critical and the more voices the better.

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