To strengthen consumer confidence in electronic commerce in the Pacific Rim region, the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system is adding to its roster of accountability agents, who ensure that participating firms are safeguarding consumers’ personal information while fostering growth of the digital economy.
Data protection has come under public scrutiny as online retail activity continues to surge, growing more than 9 per cent in 2017. Every year, consumers across APEC’s 21 economies purchase some USD 1 trillion in goods and services online – about half of global e-commerce.
The Joint Oversight Panel of the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group has approved Schellman, a leading provider of attestation and compliance services, to join existing accountability agents TRUSTe and the Japan Institute for Promotion of Digital Economy and Community (JIPDEC). By certifying that participating firms are applying privacy measures when handling personal data across borders, the agents support the CBPR in bolstering trust in digital trade.
“The recent expansion of the CBPR System demonstrates the growing need for an effective mechanism to promote data privacy and to bridge different rules among member economies,” said Shannon Coe, Chair of the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group. “Accountability Agents are key participants in the system and adding Schellman indicates the growing business demand for their services that will strengthen the functioning of the CBPR system.”
Under the CBPR system, companies voluntarily adhere to a set of commonly agreed rules on privacy based on the APEC Privacy Framework. An accountability agent assesses the companies and award certification in the event of compliance; only certified organizations may display a seal, trust-mark, or claim participation in the CBPR. Schellman will evaluate participating businesses based in the United States.
In addition to building consumer trust, the CBPR system helps business by promoting consistency with its baseline set of data privacy practices and by bridging differing domestic laws. More interoperability between diverse privacy regimes will only foster stronger digital trade.
Finalised in 2011, the CBPR currently has eight members: Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Chinese Taipei and the United States. All APEC member economies have committed to participating in the system.
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