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The Global Privacy Assembly (GPA) has appointed its first Reference Panel, a contact group of varied external stakeholders who will support the Assembly and its members by providing expert knowledge and practical expertise on data protection and privacy, as well as on data protection related issues and developments in information technology.

The independent panel of 16 members was drawn from a very strong applicant pool and provides expertise from around the world from relevant civil society organisations, academic institutions and think tanks who have an interest in the vision and mission of the GPA. Its membership has been endorsed by the GPA membership and Executive Committee.

The Reference Panel is chaired by Ulrich Kelber, member of the GPA Executive Committee, and Germany’s Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.

Ulrich Kelber has launched this new stream of work, providing personal invitations to the first Reference Panel. He said:

“I am glad we could bring together all these experts from different cultural and professional backgrounds. They will provide new perspectives on privacy related topics for the GPA. I am honoured to be the chair of the Reference Panel and I look forward to our first official meeting.”

The work to establish the Panel was an extensive process. An Assessment Group consisting of representatives from 14 GPA member authorities from all global regions assessed a high number of applications. The calibre of applicants was exceedingly high, and each Assessment Group member played a vital part in finalising the shortlist of candidates.

The GPA Assessment Group was chaired by Paula Hothersall, ICO Director of Regulatory Strategy (International), who said:

“The Assessment Group’s work was no easy task given the high calibre of candidates, but the success of having the panel endorsed by the membership and the Executive Committee echoes its strength. We look forward to the promising contributions of the Panel in the coming months.”

The Reference Panel met for the first time on 29 April 2021, and over the next few months the GPA will work to establish their work plan and contributions both to the work groups and the yearly conference.

Find out more about the GPA Reference Panel members.