16 October 2014
Commonwealth privacy regulators met today in the margins of the 36th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners held on 13 – 16 October 2014 in Balaclava Fort, Mauritius to agree the next steps in establishing the Common Thread Network (CTN), a Commonwealth network aimed at facilitating the sharing of experiences, knowledge and expertise amongst Commonwealth stakeholders and promoting cross-border cooperation, an area seen as critically important in view of the growth of the cyberspace, data, and Cloud services.
The Balaclava Fort conference was attended by data protection and privacy officials of the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Malta, Mauritius, State of Victoria (Australia) and Ghana under the joint chairmanship of the United Kingdom and Canada, with the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) as observer.
Welcoming the delegates, UK Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham drew attention to the role of good privacy practices in assisting socio-economic development. “It cannot be a coincidence that a small nation such as Mauritius has both a growing ICT and process sub-contracting sector and a highly effective data protection authority. Enterprise and consumer trust go hand in hand”, said Mr Graham.
CTN was originally the brainchild of the Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s Office. Federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said: “Our aim is to leverage the strengths available within the Commonwealth to support each other, in keeping with the spirit of the Commonwealth. We will continue as a grouping of willing and committed partners pursuing similar goals which ultimately leads to better socio-economic outcomes and social norms which treat data and privacy with the care and dignity it deserves.”
The network is being co-ordinated by the CTO. Lasantha De Alwis, CTO’s Director and Head of Operations said that “data protection and privacy fits perfectly within the Cybergovernance and cybersecurity agenda of the CTO which, as the Commonwealth organisation mandated in the field of ICTs, works to help Commonwealth countries leverage ICTs for socio-economic development.”