IGF-USA 2020 Session

Privacy in the Age of COVID-19: Public Health and Individual Rights

Thursday, July 23

10:00 – 11:15am EDT

This panel will address the shaping of digital privacy policy in the U.S. through short and long-term lenses: how privacy law and policy shifts under the circumstances of a global pandemic, and what lasting impacts of such changes might be when society eventually returns to “more normal” times. For example, “smart” thermometers, activity trackers, and location data through mobile phones are being used to map disease and for contact tracing efforts. These practices raise concerns of increased access to and use of individual data by the public and private sectors. How does one develop privacy policy during a crisis?

In March, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services announced a series of guidelines that provides enhanced flexibility and discretion on enforcement in areas such as disclosure of protected health information and telehealth. Are long standing regulations like HIPAA still fit for purpose? Furthermore, how do they fit in the overall scheme of digital privacy? This conversation will highlight examples of current and proposed digital privacy policies and practices in public health surveillance and their possible impacts in a post-pandemic world.


Rita Heimes

General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, International Association of Privacy Professionals

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Rita Heimes is General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at the International Association of Privacy Professionals. The IAPP is the largest and most comprehensive global information privacy community and resource. Founded in 2000, the IAPP is a not-for-profit organization that helps define, support and improve the privacy profession globally. Before joining the IAPP staff, Rita was a law professor and academic dean at the University of Maine School of Law, where she directed the Center for Law + Innovation and developed the nation’s first Privacy Pathways program and one of the first intellectual property clinics. Over her law career, Rita has practiced privacy and intellectual property law with firms in Seattle, Boulder, and Portland (Maine). She received her BA in Journalism from the University of Iowa and her JD from Drake University School of Law.


Troy Bannister

Founder and CEO, Particle Health

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EMT, Med Student, Clinical Researcher and VC - started Particle after seeing the lack of access to medical data across almost every stakeholder.

Jennifer Daskal

Faculty Director, Tech, Law & Security Program, Washington School of Law, American University

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Jennifer Daskal is a Professor and Faculty Director of the Tech, Law, Security Program at American University Washington College of Law, where she teaches and writes in the fields of cyber, national security, criminal and constitutional law. From 2009-2011, Daskal worked as the counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice. Prior to joining DOJ, Daskal was senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch, worked as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and clerked for the Honorable Jed S. Rakoff. She also spent two years as a national security law fellow and adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center. From 2016-2017, she was an Open Society Institute Fellow working on issues related to privacy and law enforcement access to data across borders. She is currently a Scholar-in-Residence at New America.

Daskal’s scholarship has appeared in the Yale Law Journal, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Stanford Law Review Online, and Harvard Journal of National Security Law, among other places. She published numerous op-eds, including in the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic and appeared has appeared on BBC, C-Span, MSNBC, and NPR, among other media outlets. She is an Executive Editor of the Just Security blog.

Dr. Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup

Health Policy Counsel, Future of Privacy Forum

Naomi Lefkovitz

Senior Privacy Policy Advisor in the Information Technology Lab, National Institute of Standards and Technology

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Naomi Lefkovitz is the Senior Privacy Policy Advisor in the Information Technology Lab at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce. She leads the privacy engineering program, which focuses on developing privacy risk management processes and integrating solutions for protecting individuals’ privacy into information technologies, including digital identity services, IoT, smart cities, big data, mobile, and artificial intelligence. In addition, she leads the NIST Privacy Framework team.

The International Association of Privacy Professionals named Ms. Lefkovitz their 2020 Vanguard Award winner. She also is a 2014, 2018, and 2020 Federal 100 Awards winner. FierceGovernmentIT named her on their 2013 “Fierce15” list of the most forward-thinking people working within government information technology.

Before joining NIST, she was the Director for Privacy and Civil Liberties in the Cybersecurity Directorate of the National Security Council in the Executive Office of the President. Her portfolio included the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace as well as addressing the privacy and civil liberties impact of the Obama Administration’s cybersecurity initiatives and programs.

Prior to her tenure in the Obama Administration, Ms. Lefkovitz was a senior attorney with the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection at the Federal Trade Commission. Her responsibilities focused primarily on policy matters, including legislation, rulemakings, and business and consumer education in the areas of identity theft, data security and privacy.

At the outset of her career, she was Assistant General Counsel at CDnow, Inc., an early online music retailer.

Ms. Lefkovitz holds a B.A. with honors in French Literature from Bryn Mawr College and a J.D. with honors from Temple University School of Law.