held in cooperation with
Invited Talk

Privacy & Data Protection: Policy and Business Trends
Harriet P. Pearson (bio)
Vice President, Regulatory Policy and Chief Privacy Officer, IBM Corporation

Abstract: Business, individuals and the public sector continue to take advantage of the rapid development and adoption of Web-based and other technologies. With innovation in business models and processes, as well as changing individual behaviors in venues such as online social networking, comes the need to address privacy and data protection. This phenomenon occurs every time society has embraced significant new technologies -- whether it be the printing press, telephone or home video rentals. But faster introduction and uptake of technologies in our time results in a larger number of issues and challenges to sort out. This talk will outline the major privacy and data protection trends and their likely effect on the development of public policies, industry practices and technology design.


One of the Fortune 1000's first chief privacy officers, Harriet has since 2000 been responsible for IBM's global information policies and practices affecting more than 320,000 employees and thousands of clients and individuals. She is known for developing progressive corporate policies and practices that build trust in areas as diverse as health care and genetics to RFID and international data flows. As regulatory policy leader for IBM, Harriet works with the company’s senior Legal team to identify and coordinate new policy initiatives that support the business.

Harriet is a member of IBM's global senior leadership team of approximately 300 executives, appointed by the company’s Chairman and CEO. In her more than 14 years at IBM, she has held executive leadership roles in Governmental Programs, Human Resources, Communications and Legal. A practicing attorney and Certified Information Privacy Professional, she reports to the General Counsel & Senior Vice President for Legal & Regulatory Affairs.

Harriet serves on the boards of the International Association of Privacy Professionals; the Center for Information Policy Leadership (executive committee); and Anatolia, the American College of Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds an adjunct appointment at Georgetown University, where she teaches a graduate class on trust, privacy and security, and serves on the Steering Committee of the Data Security Council of India.

Prior to joining IBM, Harriet practiced environmental law with Bracewell & Giuliani and worked as an engineer for Shell Oil in New Orleans. She is an honors graduate of Princeton University and UCLA Law School (Order of the Coif) and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

In 2007 Harriet receives the Vanguard Award, given annually by the International Association of Privacy Professionals to the individual who best demonstrates leadership, leadership and creativity in the profession of privacy. Fast Company named her a “Best Thinker” and Working Woman magazine awarded her its WEST (Women Elevating Science and Technology) award.

Harriet lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her family. She sings barbershop harmony in her spare time with the Potomac Harmony Chorus, an award-winning chapter of Sweet Adelines International. A first-generation American, Harriet speaks Greek fluently.