OECD Countries Adopt Agreement on Government Access to Personal Data

OECD Countries Limit Government Access to Personal Data.The first-of-its-kind framework outlines how governments can surveil personal data in companies’ systems.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced the adoption of an agreement on government access to personal data held by private sector entities for national security and law enforcement purposes. The Declaration sets forth common principles on safeguarding privacy and rejects any approach to government access that is “inconsistent with democratic values and the rule of law.” It further notes stakeholders’ calls for identifying existing common safeguards in the context of government data purchases, government access to publicly available data, and voluntary disclosures to law enforcement and national security authorities.

The officials from the U.S. and the 37 other member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development met in Gran Canaria, Spain, to sign the declaration following around two years of negotiations. The framework touches on sensitive topics such as the purposes for which law-enforcement authorities collect personal data and the oversight bodies that are in place in each country.

International data transfers were the top strategic priority for privacy officers this year, according to a survey of more than 700 of its members in over 40 countries that was published last month by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, a professional group of corporate and government privacy officers.

“This [OECD framework] is the most dramatic shift that we will see in this landscape this year,” said Caitlin Fennessy, IAPP’s vice president and chief knowledge officer.