I had never attended the RSA Conference before this year although I’ve heard about for several years.  It’s a major IT/technology and security focused conference that drew over 28,000 attendees this year.  I want to share some of my positive overarching “takeaways” from the week long conference.

I attended many sessions dealing with IT and security issues as well as some sessions that focused on the question of the relationship between and among IT, security, emerging technologies and privacy.  Some of the panels were composed solely of technology or security experts. Other panels were a combination of experts from one or more of those fields as well as experts in privacy and identity management.

It was gratifying to hear many of the operational experts talking about privacy as essential to their ongoing product developments. They said it was an issue that was integrated into the discussions within their respective organizations.  While I could only attend a small number of the hundreds of sessions, it was gratifying to hear privacy being discussed by non-privacy experts — and in such positive ways.

One panel I attended was comprised solely of several Chief Privacy Officers from four major companies — Facebook, Mozilla, Google and Microsoft.  They each spoke about the importance to their respective organizations of protecting their users’ data and privacy.  The panelists discussed the different ways in which each of their companies was trying to afford users even more control to, for example, limit the personal information that is shared with other individuals and companies.  Somini Sengupta has an excellent summary of that panel in the March 3rd Sunday New York Times (www.nytimes.com; “Web Privacy Becomes a Business Imperative”).

I can’t, of course, vouch for what might have been discussed in the numerous sessions I couldn’t attend.  But it was very good to hear, in those that I attended,  consumers’ needs and privacy interests being discussed seriously and from a positive viewpoint.