Where can you find Access Now at CPDP 2021?

This week, the EU policy team of Access Now (and a guest member from our Latin American team) will be participating in the Computers, Privacy & Data Protection (CPDP) 2021 conference held online.

The event takes place from  27 to 29 January 2021. Below is a snapshot of the sessions we will be participating in this year’s CPDP. If you cannot be there, recordings of the sessions will be available online after the event. As the event takes place online, participants to the conference will have the opportunity to meet with our team members online and can come visit our online booth in the event “partners area”.

You should also keep an eye on Access Now on Twitter to follow the discussions in real time, in particular during Data Protection Day on 28 January.  We look forward to connecting with you!

What is Computer Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP)?

CPDP is one of the main data protection conferences in Europe. It brings together stakeholders from all over the world and it’s one of the must-attend events for people working in privacy. Everyone who normally convenes in Brussels, such as international and national policy-makers, regulators, academics, computer scientists, legal practitioners, industry representatives, activists, consultants, and tech journalists convene, will be participating this year online. This year’s theme is “Enforcing rights in a changing world”, and the use of data to fight the ongoing pandemic is prominent on the agenda.

As every year, Access Now will actively contribute to the conference. Our staff will speak in panels on artificial intelligence, data protection, COVID-19 apps, and the new Data Governance Act. Here’s a guide to where you can find us at CPDP 2021:



Title: Exposure Notification During the COVID-19 Pandemic: reconciling fundamental rights and Public Health with legality attentive data science

When and where: At 11h45 CET – Online 4


Moderator: Giovanni Comandé, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies

Speakers: René Peralta, NIST; Carmela Troncoso, EPFL; Michael Veale, UCL; Estelle Massé, Access Now; Paolo Vineys, Imperial College


The COVID-19 global pandemic has highlighted a tension between efforts to collect sensitive personal information at scale to combat the spread of disease and potential invasions of important fundamental rights. Advancements in cryptographic techniques and other privacy-enhancing technologies have allowed public health officials to move beyond manual contact tracing and consider automated contact tracing or “exposure notification” tools to help mitigate the rapid spread of illness. Yet the public continues to vigorously debate how these technologies can impact fundamental rights well beyond data protection. The panel will explore the technological, legal, and ethical dimensions of automated contact tracing and exposure notification technologies, looking for paths to reconcile tracking or data collection for public good and fundamental rights.


Title: 40 years of data protection and many more to come: Convention 108 and 108+”, Organised by the Council of Europe

When and where: At 18:30 CET – Online 2


Moderator: Vincent Manancourt, Politico Europe

Speakers: Joseph A. Cannataci, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy (UN); Fanny Hidvegi, Policy Manager at Access Now; Ulrich Kelber, Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information; Alastair MacTaggart, Board Chair of Californians for Consumer Privacy; Sophie in t’ Veld, Member of the European Parliament


Data Protection Day marks an important celebration this year. The Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data celebrates its 40th anniversary. Forty years later, it counts 55 Parties from Africa, Latin-America and Europe, and is still the only legally binding multilateral instrument on the protection of privacy and personal data open to any country in the world.

The Convention aimed at delivering two essential objectives: facilitating data flows and respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, including human integrity and dignity. Has it lived up to its promises and what is its role at global level in the digital age?



Title: Automated Gender Attribution: It’s a Boy! It’s a Girl! Said the Algorithm

When and where: At 14h15 at Grande Halle Online


Moderator: Gloria Gonzalez Fuster, VUB/LSTS

Speakers: Os Keyes, Washington University; Sonia Katyal, University of California Berkeley Center for Law & Technology; Daniel Leufer, Access Now; Karen Melchior, Member of the European Parliament


Computer says “female”. Computer says “male”. Or computer says “unknown”, or “unclear but 63% chances of (X)”, or maybe just “error”. Or “no”. Machines are increasingly being asked to classify individuals on the basis of their presumed gender. Daily online activities are interpreted as signs of belonging to a gender category, often without data subjects knowing about this at all, and relying on opaque grounds that can hide extremely problematic gender stereotyping. Major big tech companies base on first names crucial decisions on supposed demographics, with a direct impact on who sees which online content exactly. Bodies are being read, compared, and sorted out while people just walk around in public. Automated Gender Attribution – often called Automated Gender “Recognition” – is increasingly ubiquitous.This panel will ask wow Automated Gender Attribution affects individual rights and freedoms, including those of trans and gender non-confirming individuals?


Title: Data Governance Act: Data protection meets competition, IP rights and innovation

When and where: At 16h at Grande Halle Online


Moderator: Eduardo Ustaran, Hogan Lovells

Speakers: Simon Hania, Uber; Primavera De Filippi, CNRS and Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; Andrea Toth, DG CNECT; Oliver Micol, DG Just; Gaspar Pisanu, Access Now


The European Commission recently published the Digital Governance Act. With this Act, the Commission looks to create mechanisms to ease the sharing of public data, a system of “data intermediaries” — to encourage trust in sharing personal and non-personal data — and a set of “data altruism organisations” — to facilitate the ability of individuals and companies to make data available for the common good. In this panel, we will discuss how the EC policy ambitions meet and interact with data protection, competition, and intellectual property rights as well EU fundamental rights more broadly.