Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
The Asia Privacy Forum was set up in November 2002 at Seoul, Korea with the aim of promoting data privacy protection in the Asian Region. Economies which attended the first Forum held in Seoul included Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
The objectives of the Forum have been set out by Hong Kong Personal Data Privacy Commissioner Raymond Tang:
Whilst recognizing privacy as an important aspect of human right, privacy as a regulatory concept has been accorded lesser attention in Asia than in the West due in part to different cultural background which emphasizes harmony within communities over individualism. However, advances in information technology (IT) and the extensive use of the Internet have greatly increased the risk of privacy intrusion on a massive scale and highlighted the need to address the issue of data protection against abusive conduct on the part of data users.
Data protection issues have been discussed at numerous international conferences but generally the agendas tend to be of greater relevance to jurisdictions with advanced IT infrastructure and established data protection systems. Recognizing diverse levels of data protection is not conducive to cross-border trade development, it was, therefore, considered beneficial to establish a forum for Asian economies to share their experiences; to better understand the specific issues that confront individual economies; to identify commonalities in those issues; and, to the extent possible, to coordinate efforts in reaching solutions to matters ,of common concern.
The Forum aims to carry out activities such as forums on issues which need discussion at the international level, working groups, surveys and and comparative studies.
It will be very interesting to see what role the Forum plays in the larger context of the ‘privacy initiative’ now being undertaken at APEC (on which more in the next issue of PLPR). l
Source: material provided by the ,Hong Kong Personal Data Privacy Commissioner.