Justice Michael Kirby was invited by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (the “OECD”) to open the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data. Justice Kirby led the group of experts who worked from 1978-1980 to develop the Guidelines, which have formed the basis of modern privacy and data protection law.
In his remarks at the event on March 9, 2010, Justice Kirby shared his experiences and forecasted challenges that lie ahead. The past is often instructive when confronting the future, and Justice Kirby’s comments are particularly insightful. He highlights the tension between the U.S. approach to free expression and privacy protections in Europe, and offers guidance as work continues on emerging models of privacy governance and instruments such as the Madrid Resolution on global standards. Justice Kirby’s considerable experience is a valuable source of wise counsel and may provide clues about the emerging direction of international privacy law.