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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Privacy and cross border data flows on international agendas

Cross border data flows and the regulation of privacy issues that arise, are a major challenge for policy makers. Most countries are still struggling with domestic regulation of privacy issues. The impact of global movement of personal information, and the cooperation needed to apply appropriate standards, raises big and complicated policy problems.

This issue was on the agenda at the APEC Data Privacy Seminar in Cairns last week, and last week saw this announcement, that OECD governments have agreed on a new framework for cooperation in the enforcement of privacy laws by the regulators. The framework urges governments to improve arrangements for enforcement and mutual assistance.

All this is important stuff but just how far it all has to go is perhaps illustrated by the statement by the OECD that "initiatives to implement the recommendation are already under way". Governments have agreed on the creation of a list of contact points in each country to coordinate requests for assistance, and on "a form for use by an authority in requesting assistance".

Well at least it's a start.

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