Japan, U.S. Commit to Advance Cross-Border Privacy and Data Flows

    Nov 08, 2016

    Representatives of Japan’s Personal Information Protection Commission (PPC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce announced on October 19 a commitment to implement and expand the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system. 

    According to the announcement, Japan’s recent decision to recognize the CBPR system “as a mechanism for international data transfers in the implementing guidelines for Japan’s amended privacy law marks an important milestone” for the development of the system in Japan.

    The PPC “has resolved to advocate for further cooperation with foreign counterparts to enable cross-border transfer of personal information while ensuring the protection thereof,” said PPC Secretary General Mari Sonoda. “The Commission will work strenuously to ensure the reciprocal and smooth transfer of data, including by promoting the APEC CBPR system.”

    Currently, there are only four countries participating in the APEC CBPR system: the United States, Mexico, Japan, and Canada, although more are expected to join soon. The system requires participating countries to have their privacy policies and practices evaluated by an independent Accountability Agent, which works with companies, consumers, and governments to ensure that cross-border personal data transfers meet the standards required by the APEC Privacy Framework, and to resolve any disputes that arise. 

    According to the Privacy and Information Security Law Blog at the law firm of Hutton and Williams, a draft report conducted by the Vietnam e-Commerce and Information Technology Agency, titled “Survey on the Readiness for Joining CBPRs,” shows that Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines “plan to join,” and Australia, Hong Kong, Russia, Taiwan, and Vietnam are considering joining. Unresolved issues that first need to be addressed, the blog states, include “which government agency would lead the application process or be responsible for enforcement of the CBPR, and how to structure the certification process to ensure its scalability to companies of all sizes.”

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