On February 25, 2016, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) issued a press release announcing the decision by the Joint Oversight Panel of the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group to approve the Japan Institute for Promotion of Digital Economy and Community (“JIPDEC”) as a new “Accountability Agent” under the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (“CBPR”) system. Along with TRUSTe, JIPDEC will now be able to independently assess the compliance of companies under the APEC CBPR system. With this approval, Japan is now a fully operational participant in the APEC CBPR system.
The APEC CBPR system is a regional, multilateral, cross-border data transfer mechanism and enforceable privacy code of conduct developed for businesses by the 21 APEC member economies. The CBPRs implement the nine high-level APEC Privacy Principles set forth in the APEC Privacy Framework. Although all APEC economies have endorsed the system, in order to participate, individual APEC economies must officially express their intent to join and satisfy certain requirements. Currently, the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Japan are participants in the APEC CBPR system. Other APEC economies are in the process of determining how and when they may join.