PL&B International E-news, Issue 86

1. Morocco adopts data protection law

Morocco adopted a data protection law in February modelled on the EU Data Protection Directive. It establishes a national Data Protection Commission, sets out obligations of data handlers and the rights of data subjects, restricts transborder data flows, and includes provisions on processing sensitive data. One of the reasons for the law is the emergence of Morocco as a leading country for Francophone outsourced calls for European companies. Although Morocco intends to apply to the EU for a determination that the law provides adequate protection, it has not yet applied.

2. US Safe Harbor reinforced

The U.S. Department of Commerce is upgrading the Safe Harbor website which will provide more functionality to visitors. Self-certifying organisations now pay $200 to register front and $100 a year to maintain their registration. Fifty-one organisations have been removed from the list this year for a variety of reasons including mergers, acquisitions, and failed businesses. About 60 organisations have been referred to BBB and TRUSTe regarding their affiliations with those organizations. Since January, more than 30 lapsed organisations have re-certified.

3. President Obama announces Cybersecurity Co-ordinator office, to include privacy officer

On 29 May US President Barack Obama announced a White House cybersecurity office, to include a federal privacy officer. He said: “Millions of Americans have been victimized, their privacy violated, their identities stolen, their lives upended, and their wallets emptied…I know how it feels to have privacy violated because it has happened to me and the people around me… Today I… can announce that my administration will pursue a new comprehensive approach to securing America's digital infrastructure. To give these efforts the high-level focus and attention they deserve… I'm creating a new office here at the White House that will be led by the Cybersecurity Coordinator… To ensure that policies keep faith with our fundamental values, this office will also include an official with a portfolio specifically dedicated to safeguarding the privacy and civil liberties of the American people."

4. Guatemala enacts FOIA

On 21 April 2009 the Law for Free Access to Public Information went into effect. The law was adopted by the country’s Congress on 24 September 2008, and makes public information about government salaries, agency expenditures, and criteria for contractors and organisations that receive state funds.

5. Chile enacts FOIA

On 20 April 2009, Chile’s Transparency and Access to Public Information Law (Law 20.2285) came into effect. The law applies to all levels of government, from the federal ministries to municipal governments, including the armed forces, the police, and the public security forces. Including the military and police is particularly significant in view of Chile’s recent history of military dictatorship

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Copyright Privacy Laws & Business 2009