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APEC Launches Cross-border Data Privacy Initiative

Issued: August 01 2010

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has launched a mechanism for regional cooperation on data privacy law enforcement, the organization said in a media statement.

The new APEC Cross-border Privacy Enforcement Arrangement (CPEA) facilitates information sharing and cooperation between authorities responsible for data and consumer protection in the APEC region.

“The CPEA is groundbreaking,” said Colin Minihan, chair of the data privacy subgroup of APEC’s electronic commerce steering group. “It demonstrates that privacy enforcement authorities are engaging with the realities of global data flows and the associated risks of privacy violations that transcend national and jurisdictional boundaries. The CPEA reflects the commitment of APEC privacy and consumer protection authorities to work together and across borders in enforcing consumer privacy protections.”

The arrangement establishes a process under which participating authorities may contact each other for help with collecting evidence, sharing information on an organization or matter being investigated, enforcing actions, and transferring complaints to another jurisdiction.

Jennifer Stoddart, privacy commissioner of Canada, said the CPEA is an important step forward in addressing new challenges for privacy in a globalized, online world. “This will help us deal with privacy concerns relating to organizations that operate in multiple jurisdictions and businesses that move personal information across borders for processing,” she said. “These are increasingly common phenomena in the economy of the 21st century and we need 21st century tools to address them.”

The CPEA also encourages cooperation between privacy enforcement authorities in APEC and their international, non-APEC counterparts as the arrangement has been designed to work seamlessly with other regional and global schemes.

By providing a mechanism to help investigate and enforce privacy laws across borders, the CPEA will promote consumer trust in e-commerce which, in turn, will benefit business and trade in the Asia-Pacific. Thus, the CPEA is a key step in APEC’s long-standing efforts to increase e-commerce and cross-border trade in the region.

The CPEA was developed by a volunteer group of APEC member economies – Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan and the United States – with input from civil society and business groups. Initial participants in the CPEA are the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Australia, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of New Zealand and the United States Federal Trade Commission. Additional privacy enforcement authorities from APEC member economies are expected to join.


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