FTC Gives APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules Thumbs Up For Consumer Information Protection

Yesterday, President Obama and representatives from other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies met to discuss consumer cross-border data privacy protection at a meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. The meeting focused on the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules, a new initiative to harmonize safe data sharing across country borders and enhance the protection of consumer data that moves between the United States and other APEC members, at a time when more consumer information is moving across national borders. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) put out a statement today welcoming the approval by the forum.

FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez welcomed the initiative on behalf of the agency, noting that the global flow of data raises significant consumer protection issues. Ramirez has been active in the FTC effort within APEC since she joined the agency in 2010.

“With personal information now moving around the world in the blink of an eye, we need pragmatic ways to bridge the gaps between different legal systems and privacy regimes. The APEC privacy rules have the potential to significantly benefit companies, consumers, and privacy regulators and move us closer to global interoperability of privacy regimes,” Ramirez said.

Companies that wish to participate in the APEC privacy system will undergo a review and certification process by third parties that will examine corporate privacy policies and practices and enforce the new privacy rules. In addition, the FTC and privacy authorities in the APEC region that choose to participate in the program will serve as backstop enforcers of the APEC privacy rules.

The FTC, the Department of Commerce, U.S. corporations, and privacy advocacy organizations worked together with their counterparts in other APEC economies to formulate the APEC cross-border privacy rules. APEC member economies expect to launch the new privacy system next year.

In addition to the United States, the 21 APEC members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam – Source.

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