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APEC’s new data privacy rules

By: Guillermo M. Luz

Philippine Daily Inquirer / August 17, 2019

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) has embarked on a journey to establish a region-wide data privacy framework. It’s called the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR), and the Philippines is about to enter this process. It’s a set of privacy rules that will facilitate the sharing of data across borders within Apec, a region of 21 economies that make up more than half of the world’s gross domestic product, trade and foreign direct investments.

While voluntary today, the system may become the de facto “rules of the game” for cross-border data sharing in Apec, in the same way that Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has become the standard for companies doing business with European companies.

What exactly is CBPR? Apec defines CBPR as a voluntary certification scheme that allows companies to transfer personal data (inter- and intra-company) in a safe manner across Apec economies. Participation in CBPR allows businesses to demonstrate their organizational accountability and create more consumer trust in data privacy. It is a flexible system, since companies can adjust their privacy policies to suit their business requirements. But because there is some standardization taking place across borders, it can reduce compliance costs with respect to data transfers and sharing. For consumers, it enhances data protection and streamlines the customer complaint process. For the government, it can improve trade facilitation (important since we are a service-driven economy) and can lower enforcement cost since certification can be done by the private sector.

How do we join CBPR? There are basically two stages to joining, and the Philippines has started that process. It’s worth noting that the country passed a Data Privacy Act in 2012, which created the National Privacy Commission (NPC). It sets the rules and regulations for data-handling and privacy within the country and establishes the NPC as the lead agency for policy formulation and enforcement.

What exactly is CBPR? Apec defines CBPR as a voluntary certification scheme that allows companies to transfer personal data (inter- and intra-company) in a safe manner across Apec economies. Participation in CBPR allows businesses to demonstrate their organizational accountability and create more consumer trust in data privacy. It is a flexible system, since companies can adjust their privacy policies to suit their business requirements. But because there is some standardization taking place across borders, it can reduce compliance costs with respect to data transfers and sharing. For consumers, it enhances data protection and streamlines the customer complaint process. For the government, it can improve trade facilitation (important since we are a service-driven economy) and can lower enforcement cost since certification can be done by the private sector.

How do we join CBPR? There are basically two stages to joining, and the Philippines has started that process. It’s worth noting that the country passed a Data Privacy Act in 2012, which created the National Privacy Commission (NPC). It sets the rules and regulations for data-handling and privacy within the country and establishes the NPC as the lead agency for policy formulation and enforcement.

So why haven’t you heard anything about CBPR? Apec works on a wide range of policy topics, and this one is still in its early stages. But if you look at how quickly Europe’s GDPR gained traction, you will appreciate how fast a practice becomes a standard. Which is why Abac (Apec Business Advisory Council) Philippines and the Makati Business Club will be hosting a forum on CBPR and its implications for businesses in the Philippines.

Guillermo M. Luz is an alternate member of the APEC Business Advisory Council Philippines and chief resilience officer of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.

Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club (makatibusinessclub@mbc.com.ph).

Link of article here: https://opinion.inquirer.net/123350/apecs-new-data-privacy-rules#ixzz5yhfOElwc

ABAC PH, APEC CBPR, Digital Innovation