For several decades, the OECD has been playing an important role in promoting respect for privacy as a fundamental value and a condition for the free flow of personal data across borders.
The OECD’s Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (the "Privacy Guidelines") are the cornerstone of the OECD’s work on privacy. They are recognised as the global minimum standard for privacy and data protection.
In 2021, the OECD concluded its second review of the implementation of the Privacy Guidelines. The review was developed in consultation with an advisory group of over 60 experts from governments, business, civil society and academia. The group was co-chaired by Ms. Jennifer Stoddart (former Privacy Commissioner of Canada and current strategic advisor at Fasken) and Mr. Gwendal Le Grand (Deputy-Secretary General of the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés, CNIL).
The Privacy Guidelines remain a solid foundation for building effective protection and trust for individuals, but also for developing common international approaches to transborder data flows. Nonetheless, a number of significant challenges in implementing the Privacy Guidelines have been identified, especially against the backdrop of technological developments. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, calls have thus intensified for the OECD to champion a holistic approach to privacy and data protection practices, i.e. an approach that takes into account multiple societal objectives including the collective and ethical dimensions of personal data processing.
The OECD is therefore continuing to work with countries and experts to scope developments and provide practical recommendations on the implementation of the Privacy Guidelines in today’s digital environment.
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