FTC Announces Cross-Border Cooperation Agreement on Privacy Enforcement

    Nov 12, 2015

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on October 25 announced that the agency has signed a memorandum of understanding with privacy enforcement authorities from seven other countries that will create an information-sharing system to enable them to better coordinate international efforts in protecting consumer privacy. The MOU was signed at the International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners' Conference in Amsterdam.

    In addition to the FTC, the enforcement authorities include the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland, the Netherlands Data Protection Authority, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner in New Zealand, the Data Protection Authority in Norway, and the Information Commissioner's Office in the United Kingdom.

    The seven countries are part of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), which was established in March 2010 and whose mission is to connect privacy enforcement authorities from around the world to promote and support cooperation in cross-border enforcement of laws protecting privacy. 

    “Today, data is increasingly crossing borders, and our privacy investigations and enforcement must do the same,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a statement. “GPEN Alert is an important, practical cooperation tool that will help GPEN authorities protect consumer privacy across the globe.”

    According to the MOU, GPEN Alert will facilitate the confidential exchange of information relating to ongoing or anticipated investigations or enforcement matters that have cross-border aspects. “In the future, GPEN Alert functions may be expanded to allow the sharing of additional confidential, non-public enforcement information relating to specific investigations and enforcement matters, and/or to allow the sharing of consumer complaints relating to privacy,” the MOU states.

    The technology being used is based on the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, a system that enables member U.S. law enforcement agencies to access complaints that consumers provide to the FTC and other data contributors.

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