What do you do?
I wear two main hats in my role at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), an international agency whose mission is to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport. The first is to lead all aspects of WADA’s privacy programme, and the second is to lead WADA’s efforts to harmonise the protection of personal information within the global anti-doping community via the International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information – one of eight international standards that regulate anti-doping globally along with the World Anti-Doping Code.
I was attracted to the way in which practising privacy and data protection law constantly requires me to apply abstract legal principles (accountability, reasonable expectations, proportionality, minimisation, etc) to concrete situations. It also requires me to explain what it means to apply these principles to different audiences, whether that is an app developer, a scientist, a communications professional, broader public audiences, or other professionals.
What’s keeping you busy?
I have been busy creating updated guidance to help the global anti-doping community comply with the new version of WADA’s International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information that came into force in January 2021. Because WADA is a Swiss foundation headquartered in Canada, I am also keeping a close eye on legislative developments in the privacy space in Canada and Switzerland.
What mentors or other influential figures have helped you get where you are today?
I would not have taken the leap to lead a privacy programme in-house at such an early stage in my career if I had not had the opportunity to develop solid footing as a privacy lawyer under the mentorship of my former colleagues in the privacy team at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt (Adam Kardash, Rachel St-John, John Salloum and Joanna Fine, to name a few). Dan Cooper (partner at Covington & Burling) has also been central to helping me navigate the transition from private practice to in-house counsel working at the intersection of privacy and anti-doping.
If you could change one data-related law, how and why would you change it?
I would generally move away from consent-based frameworks for laws regulating the processing of personal information. I do not think consent provides the control and other protections for individuals that it is intended to. I think other fair information principles like accountability and data minimisation provide much more meaningful guardrails and place the onus on organisations that handle personal information rather than individuals.
How has covid-19 affected what you do?
Covid-19 has had a big impact on sports in general, with doping control being limited by public health requirements and the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Other than shifting to work from home and virtual conferences, however, my day-to-day work was thankfully not disrupted by the pandemic.
What’s the next big thing – what data opportunities are companies now looking at?
Like many other industries, the anti-doping community is increasingly thinking about better ways to analyse data to uncover new insights, so responsibly leveraging data analytics, machine learning, and other artificial intelligence techniques continues to be top of mind.
What’s keeping companies worried at the moment – what are some key data risks?
Sophisticated cyberattacks by state-sponsored threat actors are a key data risk for anti-doping agencies and sports organisations, including WADA.
What do you do to relax?
During covid, a community garden plot and outdoor activities like cross-country ski and hiking have been my favourite escape. When team sports return, I’ll be lacing up my cleats again on the soccer/football pitch.