Privacy network expands global participation and cooperation opportunities.
In its annual report, an international network whose objective is to promote cross-border cooperation in data protection and privacy enforcement has announced its expansion to include 59 agencies, while launching new and innovative cooperation tools.
The Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) has grown from 13 privacy enforcement authorities in 2010 to 59 authorities across 43 jurisdictions in 2015, with plans to further expand in the coming year across Africa, Asia and South America.
GPEN released its 2015 annual report today, highlighting the significant progress made over the past year in promoting and supporting cooperation in the cross border enforcement of data protection. GPEN has launched new tools to enhance cooperation on privacy matters across borders, and has taken action to strengthen relationships and resources between participant authorities. GPEN has made a truly positive contribution in furthering data protection and privacy enforcement expertise, to the benefit of individuals’ privacy rights around the globe. Key GPEN activities for 2015 include:
- A major cooperative global sweep of websites and apps targeted at or popular with children, examining the privacy practices of approximately 1,500 apps and websites and identifying international trends and issues. This was the third annual sweep GPEN has conducted, with 29 authorities participating, the highest number yet;
- The introduction of a new information sharing system dubbed GPEN Alert to better coordinate international efforts in protecting privacy;
- The sharing of valuable experience on hot privacy topics of global relevance: 18 teleconferences were held in the Atlantic and Pacific regions to connect authorities, to share experiences and build expertise on topics such as children’s privacy and big data;
- Implementing the ‘Network of Networks’ pilot project to connect GPEN with other international enforcement networks to share knowledge, experience and best practices. So far GPEN has connected with five networks from within and beyond the privacy enforcement community bringing privacy enforcement professionals new knowledge, techniques and know-how.
Reflections on GPEN’s year
GPEN’s administrative body, the GPEN Committee, comprises the authorities from Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, the UK and the USA.
Reflecting upon GPEN achievements for 2015 the head of each authority commented:
“The expansion of GPEN demonstrates that data protection authorities around the world are recognizing the growing importance of working together across geographic lines to address privacy risks that increasingly impact global citizens simultaneously. I am particularly interested in the new GPEN Alert tool, which we have already benefited from with an ongoing investigation. This tool will greatly enhance the ability of international counterparts to interact with each other on enforcement actions and projects that transcend borders. We were also proud to see 29 authorities come together for the Global Privacy Sweep, last year focused on protecting the privacy rights of children.”
Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Globalized data flows, which are a part of our daily lives, have brought tremendous social and economic benefits to our societies, but in certain circumstances they pose risks to privacy. Collaboration between data protection authorities is crucial for mitigating privacy risks and for enhancing trust in the digital environment. I am pleased to say that the GPEN Annual Report shows that GPEN is an outstanding platform for privacy enhancement domestically and globally. Activities like the monthly teleconferences enable regulators to share their expertise and experience. New mechanisms like the alert tool and initiatives like the "Sweep" enable data protection authorities to collaborate in enforcement actions. I am proud in GPEN's success to increase privacy around the world.
Alon Bachar, Head of Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority (ILITA)
“Personal data protection in Hong Kong has benefited immensely from GPEN’s activities for a number of years. For example, my Office was involved in the planning of the 2014 Sweep exercise and the subsequent coordinated effort in reminding mobile apps marketplace players of their responsibilities to ensure privacy policies are part of the provision of the apps. Through these exercises, my Office has established strong ties with colleagues worldwide, which enable us to discharge our duties in global enforcement network effectively particularly for issues that are common to many jurisdictions. It remains our privilege to be able to continue to contribute, as a GPEN Committee member in particular, toward cross-boundary cooperation among privacy enforcement authorities.”
Stephen Kai-yi Wong, Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong, China
“GPEN has been busier than ever and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is proud to be part of GPEN’s success, leading on the 2016 Privacy Sweep, for example. GPEN is a practical response to global data threats which cannot be managed in isolation.”
Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner, United Kingdom
“I was pleased to join my GPEN colleagues last fall in Amsterdam for the launch of the GPEN Alert information-sharing system. As this year’s Annual Report shows, GPEN continues to be successful in developing practical tools for enforcement cooperation. With these important tools, including the GPEN Alert system, the world’s privacy authorities are increasingly able to respond to cross-border privacy challenges.”
Chairwoman Edith Ramirez of the US Federal Trade Commission
GPEN connects privacy enforcement authorities from around the world to promote and support cooperation in cross-border enforcement of laws protecting privacy. More details about the network are available at https://www.privacyenforcement.net/about_the_network
Enquiries concerning this media release should be directed to GPEN Committee member, Sharon Azarya, SharonAz@justice.gov.il
Annual report is available here: https://www.privacyenforcement.net/node/659