Privacy Protection from the OECD

The member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have agreed to a plan which will see them co-operating to uphold privacy laws amidst increasing amounts of cross border data transfer.

The recommendations are the brainchild of the Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart and according to a statement from the OECD: “The initiative is motivated by a recognition that changes in the character and volume of cross-border data flows have elevated privacy risks for individuals and highlighted the need for better co-operation among the authorities charged with providing them protection”.

The OECD recommendations increases the amount of co-operation between the member countries in adopting “international standard” privacy laws. On top of this each country will provide a list of contacts who will be responsible for any foreign requests for assistance in protecting privacy, such requests will be by way of a standardised form.

Over 25 years ago the OECD produced its last Privacy Guidelines, most countries though produced their own privacy laws after this, therefore: “OECD work on privacy law enforcement co-operation was undertaken in the context of increasing concerns about the privacy risks associated with the changing character and growing volume of cross-border data flows,”

“Globalisation, the emergence of ‘follow the sun’ business models, the growth of the internet and falling communication costs dramatically increase the amount of personal information flowing across borders. This increase in transborder information flows benefits both organisations and individuals by lowering costs, increasing efficiency and improving customer convenience. At the
same time, these personal information flows elevate concerns about privacy, and present new challenges with respect to protecting individuals’ personal information.”

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