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By Peter Menyasz
April 3 — The 53-member Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) will further improve cooperation among privacy enforcers in 2015, building on the group's achievements in 2014, the group said April 1 in its first annual report.
The enforcement agencies, representing 39 economies, will improve the suite of tools available to cooperate on enforcement matters, including finalization of a secure online enforcement coordination tool and information-sharing system, the group said.
In 2015, GPEN will also conduct its third annual enforcement sweep and, subject to feasibility testing, will provide new cooperation tools for capacity-building, such as employment exchanges and knowledge dissemination, the group said.
The annual report confirms the international organization's continued growth and its work to develop new enforcement initiatives, U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said April 1. “GPEN's practical focus on establishing and improving mechanisms for enforcement cooperation around the globe is vital to protecting consumers in our interconnected world,” she said in a GPEN statement accompanying the report's release.
Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in the statement commended GPEN as a “critically important” platform for collaboration on the privacy rights of the world's citizens.
The report demonstrates the “proactive and pragmatic” group’s progress over the past two years, including increasing its membership by almost 100 percent, Therrien told Bloomberg BNA April 2. “Of particular note, participation in the annual Privacy Sweep has proven an effective way to leverage cross-border partnerships as we seek to shine light on privacy issues of international concern,” he said.
In addition to the U.S. and Canadian agencies, the governing GPEN Committee includes representatives of Israel's Law, Information and Technology Authority; New Zealand's Office of the Privacy Commissioner; and the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office.
The annual report said the group expanded its membership in 2014, adding 15 privacy authorities from Africa, Asia and Latin America and increasing the number of represented economies by 12. The number of authorities participating in the group's annual privacy sweep increased to 26 in 2014 from 19 in 2013, it said.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission joined the global privacy network in November 2014.
Canada will host a GPEN meeting June 3-5 to share practice experiences and best practices in enforcement cooperation, Therrien told Bloomberg BNA.
Other highlights of the group's 2014 activities identified in the annual report included:
• a privacy sweep focusing on mobile privacy;
• an October 2014 workshop in Mauritius on enforcement-related publicity;
• progress on launching the GPEN Alert information-sharing system; and
• addition to the group's website of a “one-stop” list of enforcement contacts, enforcement and litigation reports and minutes of committee meetings.
GPEN, established in 2010 by 13 privacy enforcement authorities, is open to any public privacy enforcement body that enforces laws or regulations that protect personal data and has powers to conduct investigations or pursue enforcement actions, according to the group's statement.
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Full text of GPEN's edited version of the annual report is available at http://op.bna.com/pl.nsf/r?Open=kjon-9v8jnp.
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