Rights in the Digital World: How Technology Supports Data Protection Through Innovative Privacy Preserving Technologies


  • Amie Stepanovich


  • Françoise Beaufays
  • Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye
  • Andrés Calvo Medina

Organisation: Google

Room: Grand Hall Online

Timing: 18:30 - 19:45 on 28 January 2021

As technology evolves in the digital world, privacy and data protection should be at the core of these developments. Different and innovative ways technologies can do more with less data is one key topic the industry has been discussing and investing resources.

This panel will discuss recent technological advances in differential privacy, federated learning, homomorphic encryption, and anonymization and how they fit into existing regulatory schemes, and the challenges and tradeoffs involved. It will also talk through how these new technologies support user's right to privacy and how the academia, civil society, private and public sector can collaborate on these developments.

• How can privacy preserving technology enhance digital rights and data protection?
• What are some practical advantages of privacy preserving technologies that people have benefited from already?
• In which ways can academia, civil society, and the public and private sectors collaborate further to the development and application of these technologies?
• Could public authorities accelerate the progress and adoption of this technology? In what ways?


Amie Stepanovich

Silicon Flatirons at Colorado Law

Amie Stepanovich is the Executive Director at Silicon Flatirons. She is a nationally recognized expert in domestic surveillance, cybersecurity, and privacy law. Stepanovich previously served as U.S. Policy Manager and Global Policy Counsel at Access Now, where she worked to protect human rights through law and policy involving technologies and their use. Prior to that, she was the Director of the Domestic Surveillance Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. She serves as a board member to the Internet Education Foundation and as an advisory board member to the Future of Privacy Forum. In 2014, Stepanovich was named in Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Leaders in Law and Policy.


Françoise Beaufays

Google (US)

Françoise Beaufays is a Distinguished Scientist at Google, where she leads a team of engineers and researchers working on speech recognition and mobile keyboard input. Her area of expertise covers deep learning, ​language modeling and other technologies related to natural language processing, with a recent focus on privacy-preserving on-device learning. ​Françoise studied Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Brussels, Belgium. She holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering and a PhD minor in Italian Literature, both from Stanford University.

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye

Imperial College London (UK)

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye is an Associate Professor at Imperial College London. He currently is a Special Adviser on AI and Data Protection to EC Justice Commissioner Reynders and a Parliament-appointed expert to the Belgian Data Protection Agency (APD-GBA). In 2018-2019, he was a Special Adviser to EC Competition Commissioner Vestager co-authoring the Competition Policy for the Digital Era report. His research has been published in Science and Nature Communications and has enjoyed wide media coverage (BBC, CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, etc.). His work on the shortcomings of anonymization has appeared in reports of the World Economic Forum, FTC, European Commission, and the OECD. Yves-Alexandre worked for the Boston Consulting Group and acted as an expert for both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations. He received his PhD from MIT in 2015 and obtained, over a period of 6 years, an M.Sc. from UCLouvain in Applied Mathematics, an M.Sc. (Centralien) from Ecole Centrale Paris, an M.Sc. from KULeuven in Mathematical Engineering as well as his B.Sc. in engineering from UCLouvain.

Andrés Calvo Medina

Spanish Data Protection Authority (ES)

For the last thirteen years he has been working in the Spanish DPA where he has occupied several jobs: inspection area coordinator, CISO, head of the Informatics Unit, Head of the Technological Assessment and Analysis Unit, beeing now part of the Innovation and Technology Division whose objectives are, among others, to promote the culture of data protection as a key factor of trust in the digital society.