Our firm is a proud member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), as are those of many of my colleagues in the industry. I attend the IAPP Global Privacy Summit every year, and have done so since (I think) 2004. Yikes. Back in the early days, hundreds of individuals attended the conference in one conference room, while now it is held annually in the D.C. Convention Center and the Marriott Marquis as many thousands from all over the world attend.
I was admittedly bummed when I received the email from IAPP yesterday cancelling the global summit this year, which was scheduled for next month. Bummed, but not so surprised, as every day the coronavirus is wreaking havoc and causing cancellations to conferences and travel plans, and general disruption to everyday life. I was bummed because it is the one time of the year I get to see and socialize with colleagues in other firms, clients, vendors and service providers, which I really enjoy. The speakers and panels are always good, and it is fun to just “talk the talk” with so many of us who are passionate about privacy and security. To all of my peeps that I will not see at IAPP this year–I will miss you!
The decision by the IAPP was understandable and solid, despite my disappointment. This became clearer to me when I saw the headline that two attendees at the RSA conference in San Francisco (another heavy weight conference for folks like me) have tested positive for Coronavirus. I know many people who attended RSA, so that news is worrisome, but it validates the IAPP’s decision to cancel the Global Provacy Summit. Prioritizing health in what has now been declared a pandemic is the most important consideration hese days.