UNITED STATES, APEC Economies Endorse Privacy Recognition in Support of Processors in Global Data Value Chain

October 26, 2015

Michael Rose is Policy Advisor in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Digital Services Industries 

At the recent Senior Officials Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in the Philippines, the United States spearheaded the effort to draft and endorse the governing documents necessary to operationalize the APEC Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP) system.  The success of this effort has led to the creation of a second system in APEC to certify the corporate privacy programs of data processors and allow for data transfers between APEC economies.  The PRP System was designed to help data processors demonstrate their ability to provide effective implementation of a personal information controller’s privacy obligations and to help controllers identify qualified and accountable processors.

The PRP was conceived as a companion to the existing APEC Cross-border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system, which provides a means for data controllers to transfer personal data across participating APEC economies in a manner in which individuals may trust that the privacy of their information is protected.  The CBPR system was endorsed by President Obama and other APEC leaders in November 2011, and held out as a model for facilitating global interoperability of privacy frameworks in the President’s 2012 Privacy Blueprint.  As a participant in the CBPR system, the United States has worked with a team of experts from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and New Zealand to support the creation of the PRP system to expand the benefits of the digital value chain to data processors in the APEC region.

The 21 member economies of APEC endorsed the CBPR and PRP systems as a means of strengthening consumer privacy protections and trust across the Asia Pacific region while facilitating trade by minimizing barriers to the cross-border flow of information.

Both the APEC CBPR & PRP systems are voluntary but enforceable systems which promote a set of mutually recognized data privacy practices for companies doing business in participating APEC economies.  With the endorsement of the PRP, the total global value chain of the digital economy is supported by for a system of robust privacy rules that enables the cross-border data flows necessary for global trade.

While economies consider taking the necessary steps to join the PRP system, businesses and potential Accountability Agents can learn more by reviewing all relevant documentation and requirements at CBPRs.org.

ITA is excited to be leading this work on behalf of the Department of Commerce and is looking forward to encouraging additional countries and companies to join both the CBRP and PRP systems.  This is cutting edge work that could lead to a system that will help all stakeholders further strengthen privacy protection and increase trade and economic growth throughout the APEC region.  For additional questions about these initiatives, please contact Michael Rose at Michael.Rose@trade.gov

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