New government-focused privacy tool to debut at Seattle conference

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A new tool that will help government agencies, non-profits and private companies address privacy issues while protecting sensitive data will make its formal debut at a one-day conference on privacy and security on Feb. 3 at the University of Washington’s School of Law.

The conference, called “Start with Privacy:”, will bring together leaders in academia, business, government and technology. It is co-organized by the Washington State Office of Privacy and Data Protection and the UW Tech Policy Lab.

“We will explore in-depth the relationship between privacy and security threats in the digital environment, led by experts in both fields,” said Alex Alben, chief privacy officer for Washington state.  "We'd like to help set the agenda for 2017 in terms of how we think about these evolving issues."

The privacy modeling tool developed by the state can be used to help public and private entities alike navigate through the extensive set of privacy laws and rules related to personal data while they are creating new products and services.

Other conference highlights include:

  • Hearing from national experts on security and privacy developments

  • Learning about new developments in robotics and the Internet of Things

  • Learning what city and state officials are doing to protect privacy

  • Discussing the intersection of privacy and security issues

“The conference represents a rare opportunity to engage in discussion of the agenda and priorities for 2017 concerning how to protect citizen data and to learn how specific technologies are reshaping the data environment,” said Emily McReynolds, Associate Director of the UW Tech Policy Lab.

Conference organizers state that there are 180 registrants.

“We constantly try to innovate at the intersection of public policy and technology,” said Michael Cockrill, Washington State’s CIO. “Privacy modeling is a big leap forward in building a web app to help government entities and programs find the privacy laws that apply to diverse situations.”

The new privacy modeling tool can be found online at:

About the Office of Privacy and Data Protection

The Office of Privacy and Data Protection was chartered within Washington Technology Solutions in 2016 as the focal point for privacy efforts in Washington state. The office also supports the state’s efforts relating to Open Data, and advises the governor’s office and the legislature on the privacy impact of new technologies.