How do we focus on individuals and ensure meaningful control and the empowerment of individuals in the modern information age? What data privacy tools would drive empowerment in the digital world of today and tomorrow, perhaps more effectively and more nimbly than traditional individual consent? At a time when many countries are legislating or revising their data privacy laws and organizations are searching for best practices to embed in their business models, these questions are more relevant today than ever. In an article published on July 2, 2015, in the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Privacy Perspective, entitled Empowering Individuals Beyond Consent, Bojana Bellamy and Markus Heyder of the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams argue that consent is no longer the best or only way to provide control and protect individuals. There are alternative and additional tools in our toolkit that can deliver effective data privacy and greater individual empowerment.

These include legitimate interest processing, new transparency, focus on risk and impact on individuals, individuals’ right of access and correction, and fair processing requirements. Bellamy and Heyder point to these “individual empowerment” mechanisms as effective privacy protection tools that ensure real focus on individuals. When used appropriately, these mechanisms likely will decrease the overuse of consent and limit consent to appropriate situations.