The speaker, who was later to serve as a judge in Australia’s highest courts, was from 1978-80 Chairman of the OECD Expert Group on Transborder Data Flows and the Protection of Privacy. That body developed the OECD Guidelines for Privacy which proved influential on national laws from the Netherlands to Canada, Japan and Australia. However, he describes the problems that arose from adoption of a principle on “use limitation” following the invention of search engines. This instance shows the difficulty of maintaining the rule of law on an age of rapid technological change. Law is typically slow to adapt and change but technology races ahead. How can the rule of law be maintained and preserved in these circumstances?
When he retired from the High Court of Australia on 2 February 2009, Michael Kirby was Australia’s longest serving judge.
He was first appointed in 1975 as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation & Arbitration Commission. This is a start of many for Justice and human rights important appointments and memberships which will follow up until this moment.
In December 2015 he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General to be a member of the United Nations High Level Panel on Health Technology Innovation and Access. At the same time he was appointed to chair the Expert Advisory Group of the High Level Panel. The Panel is expected to report to the Secretary-General in 2016. He was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize in 2010 and has been Patron of the Kirby Institute on Blood Borne Diseases in UNSW Sydney, Australia since 2011.
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