The European Privacy Association and Transparency

The European Privacy Association aims to operate with the utmost transparency concerning our budget and the sources of our funding. Our mission is to promote forward-thinking, effective, and sustainable protection of personal data, powered by our independent research and analysis and that is what we are going to do.

The European Privacy Association is undertaking substantial changes[1]

EPA is now listed under 97050032046-57 “Think tanks and research institutions” and this is the way we want to go forward. We want to focus on providing the public debate and institutions with independent scientific research and analysis, expanding the formerly singular focus on privacy and data protection regulation to also include the vast field of data science that grows as we speak. This will be accomplished by way of the extraordinary community of experts that we have gathered to participate in our Scientific Committee. The new EPA Scientific Committee consists of leaders in the privacy, data protection, data security and data science world who have proved their professionalism and knowledge in the field. A complete list of the Members of the Scientific Committee will soon be published on our website.

To reinforce our commitment towards independent scientific research, we have appointed a new Board of Directors. Dr. Paolo Balboni, our former Scientific Director has become the Chairman; Mr. Florian Damas, Managing Director; a new Scientific Director will soon be appointed; Ms. Kate Francis, Secretary General; and Ms. Geny Li, Treasurer. The new Board of Directors will provide the greatest level of transparency possible concerning our budget and supporters and will support the development of EPA into a genuine think-tank that promotes non-biased scientific work on themes related to data science and data privacy.

Our purpose is to promote sustainable privacy and data protection by way of our independent research and we aim do this by way of both private and public funding. Private and public entities will be invited to fund our non-biased research in order to promote innovation and protect fundamental rights.

In order to ensure conformity with the non-binding guidelines of the Transparency Register, we have taken it upon ourselves to reach out to the contact person of the Register concerning our position.

We welcome any inquiries concerning our activities, budget, or Board of Directors which can be made by writing to info [@] europeanprivacy.eu.

 

Letter to Transparency Register Contact person:

Brussels, 22 December 2015

Dear Sir/Madam,

I recently accepted the role of Chairman of the European Privacy Association. I was the Scientific Director of EPA and I strongly believe in the quality and merit of our independent, well-balanced research that was produced under my supervision. In my actual position it is my duty to make sure that EPA complies with the guidelines of the Transparency Register.

EPA last corresponded with you in 2013. We are now undertaking substantial changes. We want to focus on providing the public debate and institutions with independent scientific research and analysis, expanding the formerly singular focus on privacy and data protection regulation to also include the vast field of data science that grows as we speak. This will be accomplished by way of the extraordinary community of experts that we have gathered to participate in our Scientific Committee. The new EPA Scientific Committee consists of leaders in the privacy, data protection, data security and data science world who have proved their professionalism and knowledge in the field. A complete list of the Members of the Scientific Committee will soon be published on our website.

We are a think tank in the true sense of the word, a body of experts that provides ideas and shares research outputs on specific topics, in this case privacy, data protection, data security and data science. Our organization is comprised of five Board Members (the new Scientific Director will soon be appointed), a Scientific Committee consisting of leading experts in the field, and a number of Fellows who are also experts in the field. We have produced high-level scientific research that has been published in leading peer-reviewed international law journals as well as informative papers for internal use . We will soon begin other activities that promote the exploration of the themes that we study, activities that are purely of an investigative and research-based nature.

We no longer have companies as “Members” and we do not in any way aim to represent the interests of any company, individual, or institution. However, as any non-profit Association, body, or institute has the necessity of a budget to carry out their activities, we are seeking funds from private and public bodies to enable EPA to run daily operations and carry out our research activities.

We are and we believe that EPA should be listed under “Think tanks and research institutions”. The subsection of “Think tanks and research institutions” outlined in Annex 1 of the Transparency register is defined as, “Specialised think tanks and research institutions dealing with the activities and policies of the European Union.”

In the past we were listed under the “In-house lobbyists and trade/professional associations” category. The “In-house lobbyists and trade/business/professional associations” definition in Annex 1 reads, “Organisations (either profit or non-profit making themselves) representing profit-making companies or mixed groups and platforms”.   This definition does not describe our organization in any way because we do not represent any company, mixed group, or platform.

EPA’s mission is to promote non-biased forward-thinking, effective, and sustainable protection of personal data, powered by our independent research and analysis. We therefore strongly believe that we belong to the “Think tanks and research institutions” category as it most accurately represents our DNA and modus operandi.

I look forward to receiving your feedback on the right category choice for our association and any comments you may have for us to be as transparent as possible.

Best regards,

Paolo Balboni

EPA Chairman

 

 

 

[1] In the past, EPA was questioned on the grounds of its transparency and lobbying activities. EPA has already formally replied to such criticisms (See EPA letter to the Financial Times here).

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