Friday, 6 March 2015

Blacknight CEO to speak at SXSW Interactive conference



Ireland’s presence at the South By South West Interactive conference has swelled in 2015 with the addition of Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon to the speaker line up.

This year, Neylon will be a part of the panel titled: "Rebels Without a Clause: Rethinking Terms of Service and the Data Dilemma". The discussion will be held Monday March 16, 2015 at 2pm CT in Austin Texas at the German Haus.

The panel will focus on the international problems that arise when large companies like Google and Facebook create user agreements that violate International laws. Data retention, in particular is a recurring problem across the globe. For instance, several countries in the European Union have strict policies on how much and what kind of data may be stored as well as how long it can be warehoused. However, many free platform companies with a global reach don’t tailor their data collection policies to the individual countries in which they accept users.

This particular topic has been a passion of Neylon’s as he has engaged several entities over the last few years in an effort to offer their services to Blacknight customers but remain compliant with Irish and European laws. Neylon explains: “The blatant disregard for International (specifically non-US) differences in Internet best practices is great cause for concern as users around the globe blindly click ‘agree’ to Terms of Service (ToS) agreements that may not be legal in their countries. It is unreasonable for behemoth business entities to task their users from whom they are collecting mountains of data, to be intimately familiar with the nuances of their countries data policies.”

Recently topics such as surveillance, privacy and encryption have become household conversation pieces, introducing the average Internet user to concepts that were previously the domain of policy makers and infrastructure experts. As the general population becomes increasingly aware of what goes on behind the scenes online, it becomes easier to publicly approach an overhaul to the prevailing status quo of data ownership and online privacy.

“It is the responsibility of any company operating Internationally to understand and comply with the policies of each country in which they do business,” Neylon continues. “Every global brick and mortar company is expected to operate within the scope of the law in every country in which they have a presence. It should not be different for companies that operate solely online.”

Neylon is honoured by the invitation to formally join SXSW as a panelist. This is the first year he will be speaking at the conference. Neylon will be joined on the panel by Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open Xchange and Sascha Meinrath, Director of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. Passcode editor Mike Farrell will moderate the discussion.

To get tickets for the panel session please visit EventBrite