The U.S. Federal Trade Commission signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ireland’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner today to promote increased cooperation and communication between the two agencies in their efforts to protect consumer privacy.
The MOU was signed by FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes. It is designed to bolster their privacy enforcement partnership at a time when more and more consumer information is moving across national borders, increasing the need for cross-border enforcement cooperation.
“This MOU with Ireland’s privacy agency is a step forward for the FTC in cross-border privacy enforcement,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “Working closely with our international partners in this area benefits both consumers and companies.”
The FTC is the chief U.S. consumer privacy agency. The agency’s comprehensive privacy program uses law enforcement, research, policy initiatives, and consumer and business education to protect consumers’ personal information. Ireland’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is responsible for protecting its citizens’ privacy through the framework set out in Ireland’s Data Protection Acts and European Union law.
The two agencies have already cooperated on cross-border policy and enforcement, including through the London Action Plan (LAP, an anti-spam network) and the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN). The MOU is a framework for voluntary cooperation and will not change existing law in either country.
The Commission vote authorizing Chairwoman Ramirez to sign the MOU on behalf of the agency was 4-0.
As more U.S. companies and consumers do business overseas, more FTC work involves international cooperation. The Office of International Affairs serves both as an internal resource to Commission staff on international aspects of their work and as an official representative to numerous international organizations. In addition, the FTC cooperates with foreign authorities through formal and informal agreements. The FTC works with more than 100 foreign competition and consumer protection authorities around the world to promote sound policy approaches. For questions about the Office of International Affairs, send an e-mail to [email protected]. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases and the FTC International Monthly for the latest FTC news and resources.