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Data protection authorities endorse enforcement cooperation arrangement

MAURITIUS, October 16, 2014 – International data protection authorities meeting in Mauritius have endorsed a Global Cross Border Enforcement Cooperation Arrangement aimed at fostering more coordinated approaches to addressing cross-border privacy issues.

“In a global world, a single issue can negatively impact the privacy rights of huge numbers of people in many countries,” says Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner of Canada. “The Arrangement addresses an urgent need for data protection authorities to work together to address cross-border privacy violations.”

The 36th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners took place this week in Mauritius.  The annual conference brings together data protection authorities from around the globe.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the United Kingdom Information Commissioner’s Office led the drafting of the Arrangement. 

“The new co-operation framework will help regulators to offer a credible global response to global threats,” says U.K. Information Commissioner Christopher Graham.

The Arrangement sets out ground rules for the sharing of confidential information related to enforcement work.  For example, it could enable several data protection authorities to work together to respond to a major data breach.

The ability to share this type of information is critical to coordinating enforcement efforts.  In the absence of the Arrangement, data protection authorities have had to draft bilateral or multilateral memoranda of understanding on an ad hoc basis.

For the OPC, the Arrangement is an important addition to existing Memoranda of Understanding reached with several international data protection authorities.

“We’ve already had very positive experiences working in collaboration with international partners – for example, with our Dutch counterpart in an investigation of California-based WhatsApp.  The Arrangement will allow us to expand our international partnerships and ability to address global privacy issues affecting Canadians,” says Commissioner Therrien.

Data protection authorities attending the conference also endorsed a resolution on the importance of international cooperation as well as resolutions on Big Data and privacy in the digital age.

The resolutions endorsed by the participating authorities have been posted to the conference website.

For more information, please contact:

Valerie Lawton
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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