The Bulgarian Commission for Personal Data Protection, jointly with the European Data Protection Supervisor, organized the most important international forum in the field of data protection and privacy for sharing knowledge, experience and ideas in the field - International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners - between 22 and 26 October 2018. For almost four decades since its convening in 1979, it has served as a meeting platform for leaders in the field of personal data protection. This is achieved through the joint efforts of organizations from 6 continents - a total of one hundred and ten accredited members and sixteen observers.
The 40th International Conference, was held simultaneously in Brussels and Sofia, and contributes to the development of the discussion on the ethical dimensions of personal data processing in the digital era. The Conference took place under the title „Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life”. For the first time, the conference was jointly organized by a European institution and a national data protection authority. 2018 provided an opportunity for the Bulgarian Commission for Personal Data Protection and the European Data Protection Supervisor to highlight the leading role of the European Union in shaping policies and means of protection of personal data and access to information worldwide.
The public part of the conference in Brussels was held on 24 and 25 October in the premises of the European Parliament with a busy program presenting the various aspects of ethics in the digital space. Giovanni Butarreli opened the conference welcoming 1132 delegates representing a wide range of disciplines, nationalities and views. The intriguing line-up of big-name speakers included Apple CEO Tim Cook, founder of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee and prominent philosopher Anita Allen, followed by technologist Pascale Fung, big tech insider Tristan Harris, European Commissioner Vera Jourova, former Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar and many others.
In addition to data protection authorities and experts, a record number of NGOs are expected to attend, with over 130 delegates from 85 different NGOs registered. Among them was Alexandra Tsvetkova, Director of LIBRe Foundation, which had the honour to be selected by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, providing scholarships to only 20 non-governmental organizations from around the world to participate in the public sessions of the conference.