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International Data Protection Authorities Call for International Standards on Protection of Passenger Data

Montreal, September 28, 2007 – A meeting of international data protection authorities (DPAs) in Montreal today called for international standards for the use and disclosure of personal information collected by a travel carrier about its passengers.

“The very nature of international travel warrants an international approach to establishing standards that safeguard passenger data,” says Jennifer Stoddart, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner. “The transfer of personal information among travel agents, carriers and any number of domestic and foreign governments poses an ongoing threat to the personal privacy of passengers.”

The DPAs found that a global solution can only be developed with the cooperation of carriers, law enforcement agencies, international organizations, civil liberties groups and data protection and privacy experts.

DPAs from every continent are gathered in Montreal this week to participate in the 29th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners.

The DPAs also adopted two additional resolutions: to improve international cooperation and to build upon existing work to establish shared privacy standards in the area of information technology.

  • The Resolution on Development of International Standards acknowledges a growing recognition within the data protection and privacy community that data protection and privacy legislation, while essential to ensuring the protection of personal information, is not, by itself, sufficient.

    It asks data protection authorities to actively become more actively involved in the International Standards Organization in the development of universally accepted international privacy standards in the area of information technology.
  • The Resolution on International Cooperation recognizes the challenges of different approaches to protecting personal information and enhancing privacy rights and asks data protection authorities to continue to work collaboratively to strengthen data protection worldwide.

In addition, three Data Protection Authorities received accreditation at this year’s conference. Macedonia, Slovenia, and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada) received accreditation to the International Conference of Data and Privacy Commissioners.

Accredited data protection authorities are considered premier experts on the principles and practice of data protection and privacy in their jurisdiction. They are also recognized as being independent, with a clear mandate to promote and protect data protection and privacy across a wide sphere of activity.

The 29th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners was hosted by Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. It brought together some of the world's foremost data protection experts to explore ways of protecting and enhancing the privacy rights of all people, and took place from September 25 to September 28 in Montreal, Canada.

This week also marked the creation of the Association of Francophone Data Protection Authorities, made up of francophone countries from around the world. The President of Quebec’s Commission d’accès à l’information, Me Jacques Saint-Laurent, has been chosen as President of the Association.

See Resolutions

For more information about the Resolutions or the 29th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, please contact:

Colin McKay
(613) 995-0103

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