At a time of increased tension between the EU and US regarding data protection, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner and the US Federal Trade Commission have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) to support international cooperation between the two bodies on data protection matters. The MOU, which has no binding legal effect, commits both bodies to use their best efforts to share information, assist in investigations relating to the common elements of their respective data protection laws, and cooperate in the enforcement of those rules.
The MOU outlines the approach to requests for assistance and information, including:
- Supplying the purpose for which the information is sought;
- The likely limitation on the supply of information to those situations where breaches are most serious, in particular where they cause injury to a significant number of people;
- The confidentiality of the information given, and limitation of its use to the purpose for which it was requested; and
- The retention of information as long as required for that purpose.
In addition, the MOU outlines other areas for co-operation such as the exchange of research on data protection issues, consumer and business education, exchange of staff, joint training and participation in future discussions to explore further opportunities for cooperation.