On October 28, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it has joined the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (“GPEN”), a network of approximately 50 privacy enforcement authorities from around the world. The FCC is the second U.S. privacy enforcement authority to join GPEN. The other U.S. member, the Federal Trade Commission, helped establish the network in 2010.
GPEN’s mission is to connect “privacy enforcement authorities from around the world to promote and support cooperation in cross-border enforcement of laws protecting privacy.” It is open to any public authority that has the authority to enforce laws that have “the effect of protecting personal data.” GPEN’s past activities have included coordinated international enforcement sweeps concerning such issues as mobile app privacy and privacy notices posted by major websites.
Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Bureau of Enforcement, noted that to “detect, disrupt, and dismantle…persistent global privacy assaults” such as phone scams that are operated by identity thieves from abroad, “it is critical that we work closely with our international partners abroad, as well as our federal, state, and local partners here at home.”
The FCC’s joining of GPEN is consistent with its recently stepped-up privacy enforcement activities.