On 15 April 2015, Canada became the fourth country to join the
APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System, a
voluntary consumer data privacy program, behind Japan (2014),
Mexico (2013), and the United States (2012). All 21 APEC countries were involved in the
construction of this system, but membership is not guaranteed.
Interested countries are required to produce an official expression
of intent and satisfy certain requirements before entry is
The system is a cross-border data transfer mechanism that
implements the nine principles of the APEC Privacy Framework. It is aimed at
preventing fraud and other security threats that may adversely
affect trade and economic growth in the region. Organisations
working within APEC countries are required to introduce internal
rules on cross-border data privacy procedures, where such rules
must meet the minimum requirements as detailed in the APEC Privacy
Framework, and be verified by an accountability agent.
Canada's participation in this program demonstrates the
growing awareness of data issues in the region, and the need for
international collaboration to deal with such issues as the amount
and frequency of data transfers rises. It is hoped that the level
of privacy protection will increase as more countries in the region
participate; moreover, it is hoped that it will strengthen the case
for interoperability of this program with other privacy programs,
such as in the EU.
The importance of these systems should not be underestimated.
The globalisation of business and the rise of multinational
organisations mean that data transfers are becoming more prevalent.
As privacy awareness increases within the region, businesses will
be encouraged to put in place effective security systems, thereby
reducing the risk of data breaches. This will not only help to
limit the adverse publicity that follows data breaches, but it will
also reduce the financial impact on that all-important bottom
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