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Ioan Popovici

Ioan Popovici
Chief Software Engineer

I am starting a series of articles in which I will try to cover my experience in managing privacy and GDPR compliance for several IT related conference events that we handle here at Avaelgo. During this journey, I will also touch some in-depth security aspects, so stay tuned for that.

As I am sure you know already, a conference is a place where people gather, get informed, do networking (business or personal), have fun, and who knows what other stuff they may be doing. The critical aspect here is that for such a conference to be successful, you need to have a fair amount of people being part of it. Moreover, since people are persons, well, that also means a fair amount of personal data.

There’s a lot to cover, but we will start with the basics. If this is the first time you are organizing such a conference, then you already have a head start: you do not have to change anything. If not, then you must begin by reviewing the processes that you already have in place.

In this first article, I am going to cover what are the key points that you should review. Let’s go:

1. How do people get to know about your event?

It is essential to know how exactly you are going to market your event. The marketing step is crucial, and itself must be compliant with the regulation. This is a slightly separate topic, but it cannot be overlooked.
It does not matter that you will market yourself to participants, speakers, or companies. Personal data is still going to be involved.

2. How are people going to register for your event?

That is, how are you going to collect data regarding the participants? Is there going be a website that allows registration? Do you include phone registration? There are still more questions to answer, but you have an idea about the baseline. These decisions will have a later impact on the security measures you need to take to secure those channels

3. How are speakers going to onboard your event?

Same situation as above, but it may be that there is a different set of tools for a different workflow.

4. How are you going to verify the identity of the participants?

Is someone going to be manually verifying attendance and compare ID card names with a list? Is there going to be a tool? Is there a backup plan?

5. Do you handle housing, traveling for speakers or participants?

If yes, you will probably need to transfer some data to some hotels, airlines, taxies, etc.

6. Do you have sponsors? Do they require some privilege regarding the data of the participants?

This aspect is a big one, as I am sure you know, some or all of the entities that collaborate on your conference will require some perks back from your event. It may be that they are interested in recruitment, marketing, or some other kind of activities on the personal data of your participants. Trade carefully, everything must be transparent.

7. Will you get external help?

Companies/volunteers/software tools and services that will help you with different aspects of organizing the event? What are they going to do for you? If they touch personal data, it is probably good to know before you give it away to them.

8. Are there going to be promotions and contests?

Usually, these are treated separately, and onboarding to this kind of activities will be handled independently, but still, it is a good idea to know beforehand if you intend to do this.
As you can already imagine, this is not all, but we will anyway cover each topic from here in future articles, and then, probably, extend to some more.

All of this may look scary, and it might seem to involve a lot of work, but that isn’t the case. In the end, by trying to tackle personal privacy beforehand, you also get, as a happy byproduct, a cool fingerprint of what you need to do to have a successful event. Cheers to that!

A future article will come soon, covering the next steps. I am sure you can already guess what those are. See you soon!

Before you go

If you want to find out more about GDPR, how it affects your events, company etc. you can register to our free webinars in Timisoara and Cluj-Napoca.

About the author

Ioan Popovici

Ioan Popovici, the Chief Software Engineer of Avaelgo, Microsoft Certified Professional, Certified Information Privacy Professional / Europe, is specialized on Microsoft technologies and patterns and practices with such technologies, acting as the architect on most of Avaelgo’s solutions. He has delivered many trainings to software companies in Romania.

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