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Welcome

Invitation to attend the 28th International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners' Conference to be held in London, United Kingdom, on
2 and 3 November 2006


I am really delighted that my Office is hosting the 28th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners and I look forward to welcoming participants to London for the event. Although this event - which was originally scheduled for Argentina - has had to be organised at comparatively short notice, my staff are now working hard to provide an event that lives up to the best traditions of previous conferences. The limited time available means that there must be some limitations on the programme, but this provides new opportunity and new ways of doing things.

The conference will follow the usual tradition of having open sessions where the wider data protection and privacy community can come together, followed by a closed session for accredited supervisory authorities from around the world. However, this year the programme will be focussed on a single issue: 'A Surveillance Society?' There will be fewer speakers than usual, but there will be a single strand of thought-provoking presentations centred upon a topic that is one of the most challenging facing the data protection and privacy community. Where and how should the boundaries be drawn as technological advances and public and private sector initiatives threaten to build the infrastructure of a surveillance society? We are commissioning a report on the issue in order to provide a focal point for discussion at the conference.

Whilst I cannot promise the sunshine of Buenos Aires, I can promise that by coming to the United Kingdom you will be visiting a country with over 4 million CCTV cameras. Visiting London, you will be staying in a city able to monitor its citizens as they travel around the capital by car or on the Underground system. But London is also a city that has witnessed the kind of terrorist atrocities that spark calls for governments to do more and more to protect its citizens.

London is not only a good place to concentrate on the important and pressing issues of surveillance. As one of the world's leading cities it also offers plenty of world class attractions away from the serious issues of the conference.
I hope that delegates can take full advantage of these during their stay. I extend a very warm invitation to you to attend the 28th International Conference and look forward to welcoming you to London in November.


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