By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Ireland Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to “promote increased understanding and communication” between both agencies, an FTC press release states. Ramirez said the MOU “is a step forward for the FTC in cross-border privacy enforcement,” and that, “Working closely with our international partners in this area benefits both consumers and companies.”

Hawkes said, “Given the increasing data flows across borders and the ever-increasing complexity and pervasiveness of information technologies, I very much welcome this important development, which I believe will be of valuable assistance to my office both as a basis for the sharing of experiences and knowledge of issues encountered by both agencies in their interactions with consumers and businesses and also in relation to cross-border enforcement cooperation where necessary.”

The MOU "is a sign of the growing recognition in the EU that the U.S. indeed is a strong partner in protecting personal privacy," said Hogan Lovells’ Christopher Wolf in comments provided to the IAPP. "The perception that U.S. law and regulators do not take privacy as seriously as in the EU appropriately is fading. While the frameworks of course are different, based on our different legal traditions and restrictions, there is a shared commitment to protecting personal privacy that the memorandum reflects."

Wilson Sonsini's Christopher Kuner also told the IAPP that the MOU is a significant development. "It continues the trend toward agreements between privacy enforcement authorities worldwide; for instance, in 2012 the Canadian and German federal commissioners signed a similar agreement," Kuner said. "It is particularly important given that many large multinationals have their main European establishment in Ireland, meaning that the Irish DPA is the main European enforcement authority for many leading companies. Both companies and consumers need better cooperation and coordination between data protection and privacy enforcement authorities in different countries, and bilateral memoranda like this are a  good way to achieve that goal."

The MOU recognizes “the flow of personal information across borders, the increasing complexity and pervasiveness of information technologies and the resulting need for increased cross-border enforcement cooperation.” Noting that the OECD, the Global Privacy Enforcement Network’s Action Plan (GPEN) and the APEC Privacy Framework all “call for the development of cross-border information-sharing mechanisms and enforcement cooperation arrangements,” the MOU outlines specific definitions, objectives and scope, mutual assistance procedures and limitations.

The agreement is voluntary and is not intended to “create binding obligations, or affect existing obligations, under international or domestic law.”

The MOU also provides a framework for the agencies to share privacy complaints, coordinate cross-border enforcement, facilitate research and education and provide “mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise” via training programs and staff communication.

Both agencies have worked together prior to today’s agreement, specifically on the London Action Plan, an anti-spam network, and the GPEN.

Read more by Jedidiah Bracy:
Privacy Board To Host Workshop on NSA Surveillance Programs
Privacy Front-and-Center: Rounding Up the NSA Fallout
Council of European Union Releases Draft Compromise


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with privacy pros, dive deep into specialized topics or connect over common interests. Find your Community in KnowledgeNet Chapters, Sections and Affinity Groups.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Talk privacy and network with local members at IAPP KnowledgeNet Chapter meetings, taking place worldwide.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

NEW! Raise Staff Awareness

Equip all your data-handling staff to reduce privacy risk, with Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

Upcoming Web Conferences

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Team

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

NEW! FIP Designation

Recognizing the advanced knowledge and issue-spotting skills a privacy pro must attain in today’s complex world of data privacy.

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

IAPP-OneTrust PIA Platform

Simplify privacy impact assessments with this cloud-based customizable platform - free to IAPP members!

72% say privacy is now a board-level concern

Find out more about privacy governance in the IAPP-EY Annual Privacy Governance Report 2016.

Privacy Vendor List

Find a privacy vendor to meet your needs with our filterable list of global service providers.

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with privacy pros, dive deep into specialized topics or connect over common interests. Find your Community in KnowledgeNet Chapters, Sections and Affinity Groups.

More Resources »

Time to Get to Work at the Congress

It's almost here! Thought leadership, a thriving community and unrivaled education...the Congress prepares you for the challenges ahead. Register now!

Plan for the Summit

The world’s premier privacy conference returns with the sharpest minds, unparalleled programs and preeminent networking opportunities. Registration opens December 19!

Intensive Education at the Practical Privacy Series

This year's Series spotlights Data Breach, FTC and Consumer Privacy, GDPR and Government privacy issues. It’s the education you need NOW. Early bird ends Nov. 4!

Speak at the Symposium

The call for speakers is open! The Symposium returns to Toronto this Spring and programming is now underway. Looking to share your privacy prowess? Submit by November 20!

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»