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Brit and Yank data watchdogs ink deal to share case info

Crossing borders to tick boxes on cross border privacy

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Britain's Information Commissioner's Office has inked a memorandum of understanding with bods at the US Federal Trade Commission to strengthen ties on probing outrageous online privacy howlers that happen across borders.

The deal will allow the two regulatory bodies to share information on specific cases.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, who signed the MOU with FTC chairwoman Edith Ramierez, said:

The processing of personal information does not stop and start at the national border. In the digital age, national regulators must increasingly work together to protect the rights of consumers.

The signing of today’s memorandum of understanding with the FTC is a demonstration of our commitment towards working with our international partners and can only be to the benefit of people in the United States and the United Kingdom.

At present, the ICO is bound by the European Union's 1995 Data Protection Directive, which justice commissioner Viviane Reding is attempting to overhaul.

But the UK government has repeatedly quibbled about Brussels' planned reworking of the nearly 20-year-old legislation. It has done a pretty good job of lobbying against some of the more stringent measures being proposed by Reding.

The commissioner previously told The Register that she wanted "one rule to apply to the whole territory of the European law". Any hopes she had of rejigging the rules prior to Europe's parliamentary elections this year have all but evaporated, however. ®

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