FTC and Seven International Partners Launch New Initiative to Boost Cooperation In Protecting Consumer Privacy

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The Federal Trade Commission and enforcement agencies from seven other countries launched a new information-sharing system that will enable them to better coordinate international efforts in protecting consumer privacy.

On Sunday October 25, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez joined representatives from several agencies, which are members of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), in signing a Memorandum of Understanding among users of the new system, called GPEN Alert. The signing took place at the 37th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Amsterdam.

“Today, data is increasingly crossing borders, and our privacy investigations and enforcement must do the same,” Chairwoman Ramirez said. “GPEN Alert is an important, practical cooperation tool that will help GPEN authorities protect consumer privacy across the globe.”

GPEN Alert is a multilateral system that will enhance coordination by enabling participants to confidentially share information about investigations. The GPEN Alert technology is based on the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, a system that enables member U.S. law enforcement agencies to access complaints that consumers provide to the FTC and other data contributors.

The seven international partners joining the FTC as initial participants in GPEN Alert are:

  • Australia: Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
  • Canada: Office of the Privacy Commissioner
  • Ireland: Office of the Data Protection Commissioner
  • Netherlands: Data Protection Authority (“College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens”)
  • New Zealand: Office of the Privacy Commissioner
  • Norway: Data Protection Authority (“Datatilsynet”)
  • United Kingdom: Information Commissioner’s Office

The FTC is grateful for the financial contributions of several agencies to the development of the GPEN Alert technology. Contributions were received from British Columbia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.

The Commission vote authorizing Chairwoman Ramirez to sign the MOU on behalf of the agency was 5-0.

As more U.S. companies and consumers do business overseas, more FTC work involves international cooperation. The Office of International Affairs serves both as an internal resource to Commission staff on international aspects of their work and as an official representative to numerous international organizations. In addition, the FTC cooperates with foreign authorities through formal and informal agreements. The FTC works with more than 100 foreign competition and consumer protection authorities around the world to promote sound policy approaches. For questions about the Office of International Affairs, send an e-mail to oia@ftc.gov. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases and the FTC International Monthly for the latest FTC news and resources.

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