The World Privacy Forum prepared this report in part because the role of the Department of Commerce in privacy may change in the near future. The Department of Commerce is co-chair with the Department of Justice on the Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy established by the Obama Administration toward the end of 2010. It is not comforting to consumer privacy advocates that Department of Justice is a law enforcement agency that is often antagonistic to consumer privacy interests, that the Commerce Department has mostly represented business interests in international privacy matters, and that the Commerce Department does not have an admirable record in the areas of privacy that it currently oversees. This leaves the leadership of the Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy without a strong voice for consumer privacy interests.
Department of Commerce and Safe Harbor — New Report The World Privacy Forum published a new report today that evaluates the US Department of Commerce’s work on privacy protection for consumers, given its role overseeing such critical programs as the US/EU Safe Harbor data agreement. The report, The US Department of Commerce and International Privacy Activities: Indifference and Neglect, identifies a number of issues of concern regarding the Department’s privacy programs, most particularly, the current Safe Harbor framework. The report’s analysis find that three separate studies consistently show that many and perhaps most Safe Harbor participants are not in compliance with their obligations under Safe Harbor.
EPIC filed comments with the Department of Commerce, which the World Privacy Forum joined. The Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce solicited comments on the development and implementation on “cross-border privacy rules” in the Asia PacificEconomic Cooperation Group (APEC). Seven groups submitted the comments on behalf of civil society organizations (CSO) in the United States concerned about privacy in order to urge the strengthening of privacy rules in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Group.