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Statement from the Co-chairs of the Common Thread Network on behalf of participants at the 3rd Annual Common Thread Network meeting

November 6, 2015

Eleven members of the Common Thread Network, which links the Data Protection and privacy enforcement authorities across the Commonwealth, have met in Amsterdam for their 3rd Annual Meeting on the margins of the International Conference for Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners.

The Common Thread Network is looking forward to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (known as CHOGM) in Valletta on 27-29 November hopefully putting data protection and privacy on the Commonwealth map. The Commonwealth has great potential to add to global value in the field of privacy and data protection through building trust and confidence in the handling of citizens’ personal data.

Co-chair Christopher Graham, the U.K. Information Commissioner, said: “Governments across the Commonwealth need to take the necessary action to further the Commonwealth’s previous work that already provides the basic foundations of a common approach to respecting citizens’ privacy.”

Co-chair Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, said: “Heads of Government need to recognize that networks such as Common Thread which span across the Commonwealth can facilitate the sharing of information and expertise to build the necessary capacity in national legal frameworks for privacy and data protection.”

Both Co-chairs also warned that the benefits of the digital age with positive outcomes for jobs and growth may not be recognized unless systems are developed in a way that respects citizens’ privacy.

Common Thread Network members urge Commonwealth governments to demonstrate their commitment to privacy and data protection in the 2015 CHOGM Communiqué, which is an inherent element of the digital society and open internet.

Common Thread Network Annual Meeting participants also welcomed several new members, discussed measures for increasing the network’s reach to maintain its steady growth of members, and strategies for better connecting the existing members.

The Secretariat for the Common Thread Network is provided by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). Contact: Lasantha De Alwis

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