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Europe Data Protection Digest | Notes from the IAPP Europe Managing Director, October 23, 2015 Related reading: Takeaways from record COPPA settlement

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Greetings from Brussels!

Staying loosely relevant to the scope of the recent Safe Harbor revolution without having to mention it, the long-awaited Privacy Bridges Report is now available ahead of the 37th International Privacy Conference in Amsterdam next week.

In case you were unaware, this report was produced by 19 renowned privacy experts from the U.S. and the EU and offers 10 practical proposals that were developed to increase the transatlantic level of cooperation in protecting personal data. The premise is that most of these proposals can be implemented within existing legal systems and are applicable worldwide. The conference next week, which will be attended by the world’s data protection authorities, leading lights and the privacy community at large, will devote its focus and discussion to the findings of the report. The assertion is that the content speaks to pragmatic bridges that benefit people, companies, governments and supervisory authorities.

One of the important bridges is to further develop a mechanism to ensure Internet users are again in control of their personal data. It seems that, be you in the EU or the U.S., governed by different rules or the same, globalization and technological advances pose common challenges to providing a progressive and sustainable model for protecting privacy in the borderless digital environment. Conversely, from the company’s point of view, there should also be global services that can respect the applicable rules in the EU as well as the U.S. The building blocks for such a framework is somewhere in the middle, and that is what the Privacy Bridges attempt to put together.

Clearly, policy-makers in the EU and U.S. often deal with the same issues and cases. The Safe Harbor calamity of late has highlighted this, as well as the need for more direct cooperation between legislators across the pond. The reality is, however, quite different where they act in parallel to each other. It might well be more efficient and effective to establish a more structural exchange of dialogue and sharing of experience and best practice in dealing with common societal and economic challenges. There can be no doubt that this would best serve our citizens and companies. 

One thing’s for sure: It would make all of your jobs easier. Hopefully, we can chat about it this week in Amsterdam. Don’t forget to swing by our opening reception, featuring the art of 1984, at the Maritime Museum (Het Scheepvaartmuseum) at 18:30. 

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