University Communications

HRDS Student Jackson Vann Wins Westin Scholar Award

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The American University of Paris is thrilled to announce that Jackson Vann, a graduate student taking AUP’s new MSc in Human Rights and Data Science, is the University’s first-ever Westin Scholar Award recipient. The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) awards this honor in support of students who are identified as future leaders in the field of privacy and data protection, recognizing the growing global need for such practitioners. As IAPP President and CEO J. Trevor Hughes says: “The privacy profession is fast growing and constantly evolving. We’ve created these awards as a way to encourage students to enter this growing field and explore potential career opportunities.”

The Westin Award is named after Dr. Alan Westin, a legal scholar and pioneer in privacy and data protection law. Award winners receive a $1,000 cash prize, a copy of Westin’s book Privacy and Freedom, two years’ membership to the IAPP, three complimentary exams for IAPP certifications (such as the CIPP, CIPM and CIPT) and unlimited access to online training for their selected certification exams.

Jackson expressed gratitude for the recognition, believing it will open new doors for him as a future privacy professional. “If even one person at the decision-making table is trained in privacy, better choices will be made – whether in governments, private companies or international organizations,” he said. Jackson believes that privacy is essential to the running of democratic societies and provides a strong foundation for the human rights policies that govern international respect for human dignity and freedom. “Without privacy, other fundamental human rights, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly, become impossible to exercise,” he said. “We have seen this time and time again in the rise of authoritarian states where the right to a private life quickly falls under threat.”

AUP’s MSc in Human Rights and Data Science combines a rigorous foundation in data science with the legal and philosophical considerations necessary to ensure the ethical implementation of policies and protections related to digital technology. Claudia Roda is the director of the program. “I was thrilled that this honor went to Jackson,” she said. “He is a passionate promoter of privacy.” As part of his MSc, Jackson has worked on projects exploring many areas of data protection, from a regulatory framework for children in the entertainment business to privacy and security in complex smart cities, and has provided comments on drafts of the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act. “He has also been very active within our community, supporting the work of AUP’s CIO on data privacy aspects,” said Roda.