The Gordon Lecture Series welcomes J.Z. Liang Chair of Cybersecurity and Privacy in the Georgia Tech College of Computing Peter Swire.

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The Gordon Lecture Series welcomes J.Z. Liang Chair of Cybersecurity and Privacy in the Georgia Tech College of Computing and Professor of Law and Ethics in the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Peter Swire, presenting “Avoiding a Trade War with Europe over Privacy Rights.”

Privacy is considered a fundamental human right in the European Union, as shown in its strict privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation. U.S. companies have become global leaders for social media and many other online activities, but to date there has been no comprehensive online privacy law for the U.S. In light of these and related differences, the Court of Justice of the European Union has twice held that transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S. is illegal, because the U.S. does not provide “adequate” protection for privacy. In this talk, Professor Swire will explain the history of this source of tension between the U.S. and its close ally, the European Union. Professor Swire was the White House privacy counsel during the negotiation of the first EU-U.S. data privacy agreement. As Research Director of the Cross-Border Data Forum, Professor Swire continues to play a leadership role in seeking a lawful and privacy-protective way to resolve the controversy. In early 2022, Professor Swire and co-authors proposed a way to resolve the current controversy, and President Biden adopted that approach in an Executive Order in October. This talk will explain the history, what is at stake, and how the controversy provides an opportunity to secure stronger privacy protections both for people in the EU and the United States.

Swire is senior counsel with Alston & Bird LLP, and Research Director for the Cross-Border Data Forum. His government experience includes serving as Chief Counselor for Privacy under President Clinton, the first person to have government-wide responsibility for privacy policy.

In 2019, the Future of Privacy Forum honored him for Outstanding Academic Scholarship. In 2018, he was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow for his project on cross-border data flows. In 2015 the International Association of Privacy Professionals awarded him its Privacy Leadership Award. In 2013, he served as one of five members of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology. In 2009-10, he served as Special Assistant to President Obama for Economic Policy.

Under President Clinton, Swire was the Chief Counselor for Privacy, the first person to have U.S. government-wide responsibility for privacy policy. In that role, his activities included being White House coordinator for the HIPAA medical privacy rule, chairing a White House task force on how to update wiretap laws for the Internet age, and helping negotiate the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement for trans-border data flows.

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