Cross border information flows – are you ready to be certified?
INTEGRITY BEAT - Henry J. Schumacher (The Freeman) - November 8, 2019 - 12:00am

Many companies in the Philippines are involved in cross border information flows. We certainly all agree that the ability to transfer information across country borders is a fundamental tool for business in the global economy.

This can be particularly challenging as privacy laws differ from country to country, including some countries with significant transfer restrictions on personal information collected for normal business purposes. The APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System helps bridge those differences by providing a single framework for the exchange of personal information among participating economies in the APEC region.

There are currently eight participating APEC CBPR System economies: USA, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and Chinese Taipei with more expected to join soon, including the Philippines. The Philippines applied a few weeks ago to become the ninth country and we expect that the country will be accepted not later than November this year.

It is also important to note that the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) and the EU Article 29 Working Party have produced a common referential for the requirements of the APEC CBPR system and the EU Binding Corporate Rules.

How can the APEC CBPR System help your business?

The APEC CBPR System bridges differing national privacy laws within the APEC region, reducing barriers to the flow of information for global trade. Also, by promoting your business’ adherence to an enforceable standard of best practices, you can demonstrate your commitment to consumer privacy, by promoting trust among customers by demonstrating an organizational commitment to privacy, providing businesses with a road map to privacy protection, demonstrating good faith compliance to enforcement authorities, lowering compliance burdens and reducing trade frictions, and enabling a flexible, accountability-based approach.

Only organizations currently certified by an APEC-recognized Accountability Agent may display a seal, trustmark, or otherwise claim to participate in the CBPR System. False representations of CBPR system participation may subject the organization to applicable law enforcement action.

Interested in becoming APEC CBPR certified?

APEC CBPR certifications are conducted by APEC CBPR system recognized Accountability Agents, which certify that organizations comply with the CBPR Program Requirements. In the process, Accountability Agents will use either the CBPR Intake Questionnaire or, if it is using its own approved procedures, another intake document.

To be APEC CBPR certified, your company (or other entity) must be subject to the laws of one or more APEC CBPR System participating economies. There must also be at least one Accountability Agent offering its services in your participating economy or economies. It is trusted that we will have at least one Accountability Agent in the Philippines before the end of this year.

If you are interested in more information on this hot topic, contact me at schumacher@eitsc.com

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