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Commonwealth privacy regulators launch Common Thread Network

MAURITIUS, October 16, 2014 - Commonwealth privacy regulators met today in conjunction with the 36th Annual Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners Conference, attended by data protection and privacy officials of United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Malta, Mauritius, State of Victoria (Australia) and Ghana under the joint chairmanship of the United Kingdom and Canada, with the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation as an observer.

Participants agreed the next steps in establishing a Commonwealth network, to be known as Common Thread Network, aimed at facilitating the sharing of experiences, knowledge and expertise amongst Commonwealth stakeholders, and promoting cross-border cooperation, which is critically important in view of the growth of the cyberspace, data and cloud services.

Welcoming the delegates, UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham drew attention to the role of good privacy practices in assisting socio-economic development. “It cannot be coincidence that a small nation such as Mauritius has both a growing information and communications technology and process sub-contracting sector and a highly effective data protection authority. Enterprise and consumer trust go hand in hand,” Mr. Graham said.

The Common Thread Network was originally proposed by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said: “Our aim is to leverage the strengths available within the Commonwealth to support each other, in keeping with the spirit of the Commonwealth. We will continue as a grouping of willing and committed partners pursuing similar goals, which ultimately leads to better socio-economic outcomes and social norms which treat data and privacy with the care and dignity it deserves.”

The network is being co-ordinated by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). Lasantha De Alwis, Director-Operations of the CTO said: “Data protection and privacy fits perfectly within the Cybergovernance and Cybersecurity agenda of the CTO, which as the Commonwealth organisation mandated in the field of information and communications technology (ICT), works to help Commonwealth countries leverage ICTs for socio-economic development.”

For more information, please contact:

Valerie Lawton
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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