Saturday, March 13, 2004

Article: Businesses Need Trained Privacy Cops

The International Association of Privacy Professionals has apparently announced that they will begin a certification program for privacy professionals. (See their press release here.) This seems like a very good idea, though it will ultimately be very American focused.

InformationWeek > Privacy > Businesses Need Trained Privacy Cops > March 10, 2004:

"Among the companies represented on the certification program's advisory board are HP, Microsoft, Nationwide Insurance, Nordstrom, Procter & Gamble, and Wal-Mart. Specifics of the certification program are yet to be divulged, but Hughes says the curriculum will be distributed in books, by training partners, and during privacy association conference sessions, with plans for eventual Web-based training. Testing will occur initially at the association's conferences."

I have heard of a Winnipeg lawyer who has started a company called Chartered Privacy Officers, Inc. and is looking to do some sort of privacy officer accreditation. He has filed trademark applications in Canada for the terms "Registered Privacy Officer", "Chartered Privacy Officer", "Licensed Privacy Officer", and "Certified Privacy Officer". I don't think he's associated with any group of privacy professionals, or at least that isn't apparent from his website.

For some time, we have recognized that there is a real lack of training available for privacy officers. Usually, the first question after telling clients that they must appoint a privacy officer is "where can we get training for that?" The answer used to be "nowhere." Conferences and the like are all over the place, but I didn't think the curriculum was comprehensive and didn't actually provide real tools. Being resourceful maritimers, we built our own two-day training program. We first offered in Halifax in October, 2003 and it was incredibly well received. One of the attendees of our first session (employed in the health-care field) mentioned that she had just come from a two day conference on health privacy in Toronto and she found our program head and shoulders above the Toronto program. Ours was "actually useful". We just held another session in Halifax last week and the feedback was equally positive. One attendee said it was the "best continuing professional development program" she'd attended. We are doing it again starting on Monday in Saint John.

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