A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), Billy Hawkes, and the US Federal Trade Commissioner (FTC) Chairwoman, Edith Ramirez. The purpose of the MOU is to support increased international cooperation between the two agencies on data protection matters.
The FTC has similar functions to those of the DPC in relation to data protection. The MOU highlights the commitment of both agencies to protect privacy rights. It is an important step given that many US multinational companies have subsidiaries in Ireland (with many choosing Ireland as their main European headquarters).
While the MOU is voluntary and does not seek to change the law in either Ireland or the U.S., it does provide for the mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise which can only benefit both the DPC and the FTC.
Prior to the signing of the MOU, the DPC and the FTC co-operated informally on cross-border policy and enforcement bilaterally, through the London Action Plan and through the Global Privacy Enforcement Network.