The Data Dilemma: A Transatlantic Discussion on Privacy, Security, Innovation, Trade, and the Protection of Personal Data in the 21st Century

CIEE Global Institute
Gneisenaustrasse #27 (G27)
Berlin, Germany
November 2, 2015


Good afternoon.

I am delighted to be back in Berlin on the eve of the opening this week of Indiana University’s new Europe Gateway Office, a facility that will serve as the university’s bridge to Germany and to all of central Europe.

It is also truly a great pleasure to welcome all of you to the inaugural event of the IU Europe Gateway. This will be a conversation on a matter of great current interest and is called “The Data Dilemma: A Transatlantic Discussion on Privacy, Security, Innovation, Trade, and the Protection of Personal Data in the 21st Century.”

On behalf of Indiana University, I want to start by acknowledging and expressing my thanks to James Pellow, President and CEO of the Council on International Educational Exchange, and all of his colleagues. Indiana University has had a longstanding partnership with CIEE, and we are delighted that our new Europe Gateway Office is housed within this splendid new Global Institute.

The Data Dilemma

The discussion for which we are gathered today is a timely and important one.

Last month, as I am sure most of you are aware, the European Court of Justice invalidated the Safe Harbor framework, a transatlantic agreement that previously enabled companies to transfer data from Europe to the United States. The court said that leaks from Edward Snowden made it clear that American intelligence agencies had almost unfettered access to data about Europeans’ online information, infringing on their rights to privacy.

The court’s ruling has reverberated across the digital economy and has had profound implications for individuals and for thousands of European and American businesses that regularly exchange data to support trade and jobs. It also has wide-ranging implications for tourism, e-commerce, and national security.

Moreover, the ruling is only the most recent development in a longstanding debate about the proper use of an ever-expanding supply of personal data, and the role of national legal systems in protecting those data.

Today’s panelists are two of the world’s leading experts on these issues, and both will be among the main architects of whatever solutions are reached. Hence, this will be an exceptional opportunity to hear their thoughts on how personal data can be responsibly and efficiently protected without undermining the considerable benefits that its responsible use may bring.

Introduction of Panelists

The Honorable Julie Brill is a United States Federal Trade Commissioner. Commissioner Brill is widely regarded as an important voice on Internet privacy and data security issues. In 2014, she received the Privacy Leader of the Year Award from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Prior to becoming FTC Commissioner, she served as the Senior Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Consumer Protection and Antitrust for the North Carolina Department of Justice. She previously served as an Assistant Attorney General for Consumer Protection and Antitrust for the State of Vermont for over 20 years.

Not only is Commissioner Brill one of the United States’ leading authorities on privacy protection, but she has also been generous in her support of researchers and students in general, and of scholars and students from Indiana University in particular. She has welcomed students from IU’s Maurer School of Law as interns in her office, and she has visited the Bloomington campus of Indiana University to give a well-received public address on privacy and to work with students in our Wells Scholars Program.

The Honorable Dr. Alexander Dix is the Berlin Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.

He was elected to the position by the Berlin State Parliament in 2005. He previously served as commissioner in the State of Brandenburg for seven years. A specialist in telecommunications and media, he is one of Europe’s most respected data protection officials and has worked tirelessly to help Americans gain a better understanding of EU data protection matters and to help find common ground. Dr. Dix has dealt with a number of issues regarding the cross-border protection of citizens’ privacy and has published extensively on issues of data protection and freedom of information. He chairs the International Working Group on Data Protection in Telecommunications—known as the Berlin Group—and as a member of the Article 29 Working Party of European Data Protection Supervisory Authorities, represents the Data Protection Authorities of the 16 German states. Just last week Commissioner Dix was honored at the 37th annual international conference of data protection commissioners, in Amsterdam, for his extraordinary service advancing the protection of privacy in Germany, throughout Europe, and around the world. And recently he was elected Vice Chair of the European Academy for Freedom of Information and Data Protection.

Our moderator, Fred Cate, is Distinguished Professor and C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law in Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. He was recently appointed as IU’s Vice President for Research.

Fred is an international expert on privacy, security and other information law and policy issues. He also serves as director of the IU Center for Law, Ethics and Applied Research in Health Information and the Center for Information Privacy and Security and also holds an adjunct appointment in the IU School of Informatics and Computing. He served as the founding director of IU’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research from 2003 to 2014, where he is now a senior fellow.

We look forward to what, I am sure, will be an invigorating, intellectually stimulating, and highly topical exchange of ideas.

Please join me in welcoming our distinguished panelists, the Honorable Julie Brill, the Honorable Alexander Dix, and our moderator, Professor Fred Cate.