[Recap] ABLI-FPF seminar during PDPC's Personal Data Protection Week 2021

The first event under the collaboration between ABLI and the Future of Privacy Forum, Exploring Trends: From "Consent-centric" Frameworks to Responsible Data Practices and Privacy Accountability in Asia Pacific, was successfully concluded on September 16, as part of the event line-up during this year's Personal Data Protection Week organized by Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission.

A very detailed post-event report has been prepared and can be read here. In summary, key takeaways from the two panels during the session are:

1. Consent requirements which apply to the collection and processing of personal data, “notice & choice”, exceptions and alternatives to those requirements, combined, form an area where regulatory coherence is most needed in Asia-Pacific (APAC). Over-reliance on consent has led to the development of a “tick-the-box approach” to data protection, consent fatigue, and unnecessary compliance costs due to contradictory requirements in APAC.

2. Modern data protection laws should shift the onus of data protection from users to organizations, by promoting an accountability-based approach to data protection over a “consent-centric” one. Different avenues may be used to rebalance consent and privacy accountability in APAC, including through concepts such as legitimate interests, compatible uses and equivalent notions. 

3. Making consent meaningful again in APAC can happen in a variety of ways, which include winding back the range of circumstances in which consent is sought; requiring consent only where it can be given thoughtfully, sparingly and with understanding; supporting enhanced transparency and consent through UX and UI design, with due attention brought to the different needs and literacy levels of users.

4. Harmonization is illusory in the face of Asia’s extreme diversity, but a bottom-up approach to convergence can work in the context of regional cooperation.

We thank all speakers, comprising regulators, thought leaders and practitioners from across the region, for their generosity in sharing their insights, and look forward to more joint activities under our collaboration with FPF. 

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