Importance of privacy to APEC
The flow of information is fundamental to business in the global economy. The ability to network, exchange ideas and share knowledge can determine a company's likelihood of success. Conversely, the inability to carry out private interactions can seriously impede business.
The APEC Privacy Framework
There is a fine line between protecting privacy and creating unnecessary barriers to the flow of information. Recognising this, the APEC Data Privacy Pathfinder
was established by APEC Ministers in 2007 to achieve accountable cross-border flow of personal information within the APEC region. This goal is to be achieved by developing and implementing a Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system, consistent with the APEC Privacy Framework
which was endorsed by APEC Ministers in 2004. Essentially, the framework:
Improves information sharing among government agencies and regulators;
Facilitates the safe transfer of information between economies;
Establishes a common set of privacy principles;
Encourages the use of electronic data as a means to enhance and expand business; and
Provides technical assistance to those economies that have yet to address privacy from a regulatory or policy perspective.
Significance of this framework
Encouraging the flow of data ultimately benefits businesses, consumers and governments by making transactions safer, more efficient and less costly at every level. It is therefore a milestone in APEC's continuing efforts to facilitate free trade in the APEC region.