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August 2008

Cross-Tasman initiative to promote privacy protection

The Australian Privacy Commissioner, Karen Curtis, and the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner, Marie Shroff, today announced the signing of an agreement which will allow for cooperation between their offices on privacy-related issues.

"The agreement will cement the already close ties between our Offices in tackling emerging privacy challenges and will enhance the management of cross-border cases," Ms Curtis said.

Ms Shroff said the agreement covers the sharing of information related to surveys, research projects, promotional campaigns, education and training programs, and techniques in investigating privacy violations and regulatory strategies.

Other areas addressed include cooperation on complaints with a cross-border element and the possible undertaking of joint investigations.

"The agreement will provide our Offices with a broader framework and base of resources, affording Australians and New Zealanders an ongoing high level of privacy protection," Ms Shroff said.

Ms Curtis said the agreement stems in part from the APEC Privacy Framework, OECD Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data, and the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum, all of which advocate the forming of cooperative arrangements between privacy regulators.

"This agreement is a significant step in our countries meeting our obligations under various international privacy guidelines," Ms Curtis said.

"The agreement is also likely to become a prototype for other APEC and OECD countries, particularly in facilitating the management of cross-border privacy-related complaints."

View the Memorandum (3.6MB).