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Stewart, Blair --- "Privacy Commissioners Adopt Ambitious Regional Objectives" [2006] PrivLawPRpr 6; (2006) 11(8) Privacy Law and Policy Reporter 221

Privacy Commissioners Adopt Ambitious Regional Objectives

Blair Stewart

In Melbourne in November the privacy authorities from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, New South Wales, Victoria, Northern Territory and Korea adopted a new name for their forum. The Melbourne meeting, the 24th in a series tracing back 14 years, had been known as the Privacy Agencies of New Zealand and Australia plus Hong Kong and Korea (PANZA+). The meeting brings together those data protection authorities accredited to the International Conference of Privacy and Data Protection Commissioners that are based in Asia and the Western Pacific. From now on, the meeting is to be known as Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum (APPA Forum).

The adoption of a new name is not merely a re-branding exercise. The participants also adopted a Statement of Objectives. The Statement explains why privacy regulators benefit from cooperating with counterparts in other jurisdictions. It resolves to build upon the PANZA+ foundations and enhance arrangements in order to facilitate knowledge sharing, foster cooperation, promote best practice and improve each privacy authority’s performance.

The Statement of Objectives reflect a genuine wish by privacy commissioners to seek out those areas where an enhanced regional dimension may improve their work domestically. An example is the adoption of a common standard on case note citation that should cement cooperative steps earlier taken (with the assistance and encouragement of PLPR’s editor, Graham Greenleaf). Commissioners have also initiated teleconferences to enhance communications between meetings and agreed to explore “webinars” as a low-cost means to share knowledge. Plans are afoot to enhance links between specialised staff in the various offices with the first network to be set up involving education managers.

Blair Stewart is Assistant Privacy Commissioner, New Zealand

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