OECD Members Agree to Protect Personal Data from the Reach of Security Agencies

Nearly forty OECD member countries adopted the first intergovernmental agreement for the protection of personal data with an emphasis on freedoms and human rights when accessing personal data in times of emergency and for national security purposes.

The intergovernmental agreement joins the OECD guidelines for the protection of privacy that were updated in 2013. The new agreement reinforces the standard established in the 2013 guidelines – which had allowed governmental agencies to access personal information based on national security justifications without special limitations.

The OECD’s Statement on Government Access to Personal Data Held by the Private Sector seeks to regulate access to personal data by law enforcement and national security agencies. The statement, which is based on the principles of democracy and transparency, specifies, among other things, how national legal frameworks should define the agencies’ handling of personal information; the standards and considerations that will be evaluated when access is requested; how the access should be approved and how the personal data received in response to a request should be handled.

Click here to read the Declaration on Government Access to Personal Data held by Private Sector Entities.

Click here to read the OECD’s Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data from 2013.