On April 15, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced that it has joined the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (“APPA”), the principal forum for privacy authorities in the Asia-Pacific Region. APPA members meet twice a year to discuss recent developments, issues of common interest and cooperation. The FCC now joins the Federal Trade Commission as the U.S. representatives to APPA.
Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Bureau of Enforcement, said in the FCC’s press release that “threats to consumer privacy and data security do not respect international borders” and “it is critical that we collaborate closely with law enforcement and privacy authorities in the United States and around the globe.” The APPA platform will allow the agency “to leverage regional expertise and exchange ideas about data protection, cross-jurisdiction law enforcement, and the management of consumer privacy complaints.”
The FCC’s decision to join APPA is the latest in a number of initiatives to increase its visibility in consumer privacy and data security issues both domestically and abroad. The FCC also is a part of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network, a network of approximately 50 privacy enforcement authorities from around the world. In April 2015, the FCC settled its largest privacy and data security enforcement action to date when it reached a $25 million settlement with AT&T Services, Inc.’s stemming from allegations that the company failed to protect the confidentiality of consumers’ personal information.