On 23 October 2018, the Brussels Privacy Hub and the International Committee of the Red Cross hosted a side event at the 40th edition of the annual International Conference of Data Protection & Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC). The event launched the working series to update the Handbook on Data Protection in Humanitarian Action (Handbook) which was published in July 2017. The revised and more extensive version of the Handbook is due to be issued in January 2020.
The discussion about the issues that urgently need to be addressed in the new edition of the Handbook was opened by Yves Dricot (Deputy Director-General of the Directorate General Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Massimo Marelli (Head of Data Protection Office, International Committee of the Red Cross) and Christopher Kuner (Co-Director, Brussels Privacy Hub). Alexandrine Pirlot de Corbion (Global South Programme Lead, Privacy International) provided a balanced moderation to the discussion, adding relevant insight about existing and emerging data protection challenges for humanitarian organisations. In their contributions, panellists Christina Vasala Kokkinaki (Legal Officer, International Organisation for Migration), Stuart Campo (Researcher, Signal Program on Human Security and Technology, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative) and Wojciech Wiewiórowski (Assistant European Data Protection Supervisor) emphasised that while there is a legal vacuum in which humanitarian organisations often operate, there is a need for examples of good practice and guidance such as the ones provided in the Handbook that would facilitate the use of technology and application of data protection principles in the humanitarian field.