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Department of International Law > OAS

Data Protection - November  2011

Department of International Law advances cooperation with Organizations and Authorities on Privacy and Data Protection

In conformity with General Assembly Resolution AG/RES. 2661 (XLI-O/11) on Access to Public Information and Protection of Personal Data, the Department of International Law participated in the 33rd International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC), and its parallel conferences, held in Mexico City from October 31 - November 4, 2011.

The ICDPPC is the highest global forum of authorities and institutions on data protection and privacy, dedicated to identifying major challenges in the realm of privacy and data protection. The 33rd Conference, hosted by Mexico's Federal Institute on Access to Information and Data Protection (IFAI) and attended by the Privacy and Data Commissioners from all regions of the world, provided a space in which to discuss current challenges and potential solutions to privacy in the global age, which included significant discussion of developments in the Americas. The discussion included work at the regional and national level, including the comparative study of existing frameworks and Inter-American Principles of the Organization of American States, Mexico's new regulation on data protection (to be implemented in January 2012), Colombia's new Law on Data Protection (adopted on October 7, 2011), and Uruguay's governing structure on access to information and data protection system, which will host the 34th International Conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in 2012, helping cement the important leadership role OAS member States are taking in the global privacy arena.

At the same time The Public Voice--the largest grouping of civil society organizations on data protection and privacy--held its annual meeting on October 31, 2011 with the participation of the Department of International Law, which discussed the synergies between the Madrid Resolution and Civil Society Declaration, adopted by the Data Protection Commissioners and civil society organizations at the 31st ICDPPC, and the OAS Preliminary Principles and Recommendations completed with final comments from member States on October 17, 2011.

The Department of International Law also participated in the parallel meeting of the Ibero-American Network on Data Protection, held on November 1, 2011, which dedicated its afternoon session to the current work of the OAS, including a discussion and commitment to participate in the OAS Questionnaire on Privacy and Data Protection (circulated to Member States on October 31, 2011). The authorities, which included participants from all Latin American countries, the U.S., Spain and Portugal also discussed potential collaboration with the Department of International Law and the Inter-American Juridical Committee, as requested by OAS General Assembly. They offered close collaboration, full support and technical assistance for these activities. Finally, Mexico and the other states in the Ibero-American network repeated their commitment to exploring a potential Model Inter-American Law on Data Protection within the framework of OAS.

Within the agenda of events at the International Conference, the Department of International Law also participated in the OECD's meeting on developments in privacy frameworks: Toward Global Interoperability. Here, the Department met with OECD officials to discuss collaboration on the development of the Inter-American Juridical Committee's Inter-American Principles on Privacy and Data Protection, which pursuant to resolution 2661 shall be presented to the General Assembly in 2012, with the collaboration and coordination of OECD and other international and regional organizations. OECD, which is also in the process of revisiting its guidelines and principles on privacy and data protection, offered to coordinate and assist in the development of the Inter-American Principles.

Finally, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland, signed a collaborative agreement between the two organizations on September 19, 2011, to work on privacy, data protection and other matters. As a precursor to these activities, the agreement set the stage for meetings with officials of COE during the ICDPPC to plan collaborative work on the modernization of COE Convention 108 for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Automatic Processing of Personal Data and its Protocol, as well as COE collaboration on the development of the OAS comparative study and principles.