Author Interview – Michelle Finneran Dennedy

By Daragh O Brien
October 21, 2021
11min read
Michelle Dennedy

Our #12Years12Authors series continues this week with another fantastic interview with another of my long time heroes and friends in the global data management community, Michelle Finneran Dennedy – the pioneer of Privacy Engineering.

Michelle was possibly the first American presenter I saw at a conference a life time ago (my kid’s life time, so not that long ago in the grand scheme of things) who was hitting the same notes and sentiments about the criticality of personal data to the essence of the self and the stability of society. And she was bringing in the interplay between Data Governance and Data Quality and the need to nail down the fundamentals instead of simply papering over the cracks with contracts and disclaimers. So we naturally hit it off and became friends and occasional collaborators on mischief of different sorts.

(Needless to say, she is proud of her Irish heritage.)

The Interview

Michelle Finneran Dennedy

Featured Author: Michelle Finneran Dennedy

In this interview, Michelle talks passionately about The Privacy Engineer’s Manifesto, which was published in 2014.  She describes the book as being about the thought process and concept of what was then an emerging discipline of data protection and privacy by design. She also name drops a lot of other authors and books as she goes along.

The GDPR was still a nascent piece of legislation when the Privacy Engineer’s Manifesto was published. And while Privacy by Design was a defined concept, organisations were struggling to get their heads around how to implement this philosophy of design in to a practical and pragmatic framework for actually building data protection and privacy protective systems, solutions, and processes.

Michelle also talks about the evolution of the relationship between the engineering aspects of privacy engineering to actually implement the fundamental ethical principles and practices of the data profession when building things. She draws a parallel with the physical construction and engineering disciplines where engineers had ethical obligations to make sure they were building things that were safe.

The book ultimately breaks into three parts:

  • Understanding the philosophy and ethics of data protection and privacy
  • Understand the methodological aspects and engineering principles of data management as they apply to building data protection and privacy “stuff”
  • Understanding the business model and economic models that underpin data protection and privacy (and make them contributors to the bottom line).

The Privacy Engineer’s Manifesto has been downloaded over 700,000 times (and only a dozen of those have been me). Downloaded? Yes. Because Michelle and her co-authors decided that the electronic version should be given away to help promote the development of Privacy Engineering as a professional discipline. Go.. go steal the book.

Michelle’s Influences

Michelle name drops a lot of people who have influenced her

Competition Time

If you would like to be entered into a draw to win some of the books referenced by Doug in this video and in the rest of the videos we’re running this month, please provide your email address and an answer to the simple question in the form below. The terms and conditions for the competition can be found here:

Books Referenced in this Video


Related Castlebridge Content

Previous Interviews in this Series

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