Alston & Bird Senior Counsel Peter Swire recently published an article in Lawfare titled, “Towards OECD Principles for Government Access to Data.” Peter and his co-authors discuss recent efforts of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to formulate common principles regulating governmental access to personal data held by the private sector for national security and law enforcement purposes. The OECD’s efforts, if successful, will help restore trust in how governments access personal data in a world where transnational data flows have become indispensable.
The article summarizes the project’s origins, the internal debate within the OECD drafting group, and the relationship of the project to other efforts impacting data protection and security across borders, such as the U.S.-EU negotiations on a successor to the Privacy Shield.
By the middle of 2021, the drafting group arrived “with a high degree of commonality and consensus” at a set of seven principles applicable specifically to compelled or obliged government access. However, whether the principles should be developed for all types of government access methods, including direct access, remains under debate. A meeting of the OECD’s Committee on Digital Economic Policy (CDEP) on December 1, 2021 found consensus on restarting work in early 2022. The scope of the proposed principles and questions concerning how to prioritize the drafting group’s workstreams on obliged and other types of government access to data are left for the year to come.
To read the full article, please click here.
Peter Swire is the Elizabeth and Tommy Holder Chair of Law and Ethics at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, a Senior Counsel to Alston & Bird LLP, and Research Director of the Cross-Border Data Forum. He served as one of five members of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology.