On October 25, 2015, Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") Chairwoman Edith Ramirez signed a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with the seven other members of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network ("GPEN") to create a new system called "GPEN Alert."18 GPEN Alert will allow participants to share information about investigations in a confidential and secure manner. The United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's Office—also a participant—explained that the agreement will allow members to share information while protecting it with appropriate safeguards. The seven other initial participants in GPEN Alert are the privacy commissioners of: Australia, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Norway. GPEN Alert is a response to the FTC's increasing need to coordinate with foreign regulators as U.S. companies conduct more business overseas.
GPEN Alert will use the same network operated by the FTC for its Consumer Sentinel Network ("CSN"), which allows information sharing among law enforcement agencies in the United States, but will be separate from the CSN. Only authorities that have signed a MOU and whose staff have security credentials will be permitted to access the system. At this time, the system does not allow law enforcement to share consumer complaints or confidential enforcement matters.