Tenable Interns Take on PrivacyCon

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Tenable Interns Take On PrivacyCon 



Tenable Interns Take On PrivacyCon 

On July 27th, the Tenable Intern team switched up our morning commute to Columbia in exchange for the metro ride into Washington, D.C. for the Federal Trade Commission’s 2019 PrivacyCon. The conference, held at The Constitution Center, occurs annually and focuses on law and policy related to and shaping data protection, consumer privacy and security issues. 

We attended the first three sessions of the day. For each session, five researchers presented their research findings, followed by Q&A. 

The first session, “Privacy Policies, Disclosures, and Permissions,” took a look at how data collection practices align with consumer privacy policies and how the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has affected consumer privacy. The second panel, “Consumer Preferences, Expectations, and Behaviors,” discussed the evolving relationship between consumers, privacy and the Internet of Things (IoT). The third panel, “Tracking and Online Advertising,” examined the economics of privacy on digital apps and GDPR’s impact on online tracking and advertising. 


While some of the interns had to head out before the fourth panel, “Vulnerabilities, Leaks, and Breach Notifications,” afterwards we were all able to read some of the whitepapers presented later in the day. The event organizers put obvious effort and thoughtfulness into choosing presenters of diverse backgrounds and research interests, and that effort resulted in an interdisciplinary conference that covered the most pressing subjects in consumer privacy and emerging technologies. Hearing the difference in perspectives between a consumer advocacy lawyer and an undergraduate computer science researcher truly demonstrated how interdisciplinary the field of privacy really is. 

Since my background isn’t in technology, I was grateful for the opportunity to hear about policy and law while still learning about the more intricate aspects of cybersecurity. In pursuing some of my research interests as an intern on Tenable’s Research and Publications team, I’ve been taking a closer look at GDPR as it relates to vulnerability management. Hearing different perspectives on GDPR and its enforcement was tremendously informative and helpful for much of the research I’ll be working on for the rest of the summer. 

Not only did we soak up a lot of new information, we also had the opportunity to network and interact with some of the leaders in the field of privacy. Earlier in the week, Tenable brought in Olivia Zug, from the Loyola Career Center, to talk about resume building, professionalism and teamwork. Attending PrivacyCon just a few days later was a great way to practice some of those skills. For me, this is just one of the reasons why my internship with Tenable really sticks out. I’m not just learning about my department; I’m building professional skills that will help in my future career. 


I particularly enjoyed hearing the presenters speak on vulnerabilities and disclosures. It was interesting to see the strong synergy between ongoing academic work and Tenable’s mission. As an intern, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you’re only working in one department. PrivacyCon was an excellent opportunity to see how security, technology, economics and law are inherently interrelated in the field of privacy. Personally, I’m interested in a career in privacy policy and law, so I look forward to attending another PrivacyCon in the future. Thanks, Tenable!

Written by: Claire McKenna 

Published on Jul 3, 2019

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