Electronic Commerce Industry Assessment
The report provides an overview of electronic commerce policy issues in the U.S. and around the world. It includes information about e-commerce statistics, bilateral and multilateral efforts related to e-commerce, and challenges ahead. The report is available here.
Data Privacy and Cross-Border Data Flows
Link to Archived News
- On April 12, Christopher Hoff and Krysten Jenci will speak at an International Association of Privacy Professionals KnowledgeNet event in Portland, Oregon to brief companies on the U.S.-European Union (EU) and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks, and the White House Privacy Blueprint released in February 2012. Registration information is available here.
- On April 9, 10 and 11, Caitlin Fennessy will join the U.S. delegation to the OECD Working Party on Information Security and Privacy and Committee on Information Communications and Computer Policy, which is currently working to revise the OECD’s 1980 Guidelines on Privacy and Transborder Data Flows.
- On March 25, Commerce General Counsel Cameron Kerry, Chris Hoff and Caitlin Fennessy will conduct a privacy seminar for U.S. exporters in Boston, Massachusetts, focusing on the White House Privacy Blueprint, implementation of the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system, and certification to the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks. An overview of the event and registration information is available here.
- On March 7 and 8, Krysten Jenci spoke on a panel providing a side-by-side comparison of EU-U.S. data transfer options at the IAPP Global Summit in Washington, DC. She was joined by Hugh Stevenson of the FTC, Christopher Graham, UK Information Commissioner and Christopher Cwalina with Holland and Knight. The panel’s slides and handouts are available here.
- On March 6, the APEC E-Commerce Steering Group released a press release regarding their work to promote cooperation on data transfer systems between Europe and the Asia-Pacific.
- From January 31 to February 2, Josh Harris led the U.S. delegation to the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group meetings in Jakarta, Indonesia, where the Data Privacy Subgroup discussed implementation of the Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system and were joined by EU officials to discuss how it might interoperate with EU's system of Binding Corporate Rules.
- On January 10, Josh Harris spoke at a workshop on European Data Protection Regulation and its Impact on the Asia Pacific in Tokyo, Japan. His remarks focused on work to identify how the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules System might interoperate with the EU’s system of Binding Corporate Rules.
- On December 5, OTEC’s E-Commerce Team hosted a webinar, during which David Ritchie and Chris Hoff provided overviews of the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks and Josh Harris discussed implementation of the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules System.
- On November 29, Josh Harris spoke as a panelist at the FTC forum, "Enforceable Codes of Conduct: Protecting Consumers Across Borders".
- On November 23, Commerce General Counsel Cameron Kerry published an editorial in the European Voice, entitled Avoiding a Data Divide between the U.S. and EU.
- On November 16, the International Association of Privacy Professionals hosted a KnowledgeNet on the EU's proposed Data Protection Regulation and the effect on international data flows. OTEC's Caitlin Fennessy participated in a panel discussion along with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to discuss the potential impact on U.S. companies.
- On October 23rd and 24th, the 34th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay. OTEC’s Josh Harris spoke at the Public Voice Conference held on the 22nd in conjunction with the event to discuss the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules system.
- On October 18th and 19th, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a biannual meeting of the Working Party on Information Security and Privacy (WPISP) and considered the Privacy Volunteer Group’s proposed revision of the 1980 OECD Guidelines. OTEC’s Caitlin Fennessy joined the U.S. delegation to the WPISP.
- On October 10th, OTEC’s Christopher Hoff, David Ritchie, and Director Robin Layton led a business roundtable at TechAmerica in Santa Clara to discuss the Safe Harbor Framework, the Administration’s Privacy Blueprint, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system.
- On October 1st and 2nd, Brazil held its third annual Conference on Privacy and Data Protection, where OTEC’s Caitlin Fennessy participated in a panel on privacy and consumer rights.
U.S.–EU Safe Harbor Framework and U.S.–Swiss Safe Harbor Framework
The U.S.–European Union (EU) Safe Harbor Framework was developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission to allow U.S. organizations to satisfy the requirements of the EU’s Directive on Data Protection. This Framework facilitates uninterrupted transfers of personal information that supports billions of dollars in trade from the EU to the United States. The U.S.–Switzerland (Swiss) Safe Harbor Framework similarly covers personal information received from Switzerland. The Office of Technology and E-Commerce (OTEC) provides operational leadership with regard to these Frameworks. In November 2009, the Department hosted the 2009 International Conference on Cross Border Data Flows, Data Protection, and Privacy, which brought together the leading data privacy authorities from the United States, the EU, and Switzerland. The Safe Harbor website provides the information an organization would need to evaluate and self-certify to the Safe Harbor.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
The Office leads the U.S. delegation to the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG), and led negotiation of the APEC Privacy Framework. The goal of the APEC Privacy Framework is to facilitate the flow of information among the 21 Economies in APEC by promoting a common set of privacy principles that will enhance electronic commerce in the region. The Framework promotes a consistent approach to protecting data privacy across the APEC region, while avoiding the creation of unnecessary barriers to information flows. OTEC is leading the effort to implement the Framework by developing a system for cross-border data flows among APEC members that respects each member’s privacy laws. The Framework will greatly benefit U.S. businesses and consumers by bolstering on- and off-line privacy that will in turn fuel trust and contribute to the growth of cross-border trade. Additional information regarding the APEC Privacy Framework is available at the APEC website.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
OTEC plays a significant role shaping the OECD’s work on cybersecurity, privacy, spam and other information technology issues through the OECD’s Working Party in Information Security and Privacy. The Office participates in both the interagency process and within OECD, influencing policy and ensuring that other OECD member countries do not endorse policies that would negatively affect U.S. industry. The OECD’s current work program includes: evaluating the 1980 OECD Privacy Guidelines, reviewing identity management practices, and promoting user education and awareness about online privacy issues. Additional information is available at the OECD website.
Outreach to Industry
Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Information and Communications Technologies, Services, and Electronic Commerce (ITAC-8)
The Industry Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC) on Information and Communications Technologies, Services, and Electronic Commerce is charged with providing detailed policy and technical advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) regarding trade barriers and implementation of trade agreements as these relate to electronic commerce.
Electronic Commerce Statistics
U.S. Estimated First Quarter 2013 Retail E-Commerce Sales
U.S. retail sales over the Internet grew by 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the previous quarter, rising to $61.2 billion. This quarterly sales growth outpaced the 1.1 percent quarterly increase for total retail sales. Retail e-commerce sales were up 15.2 percent compared to the first quarter of 2012. This significant annual increase is even more noteworthy when compared to the overall retail sales growth of 3.7 percent over the same period. E-commerce sales in the first quarter of 2013 accounted for 5.5 percent of total retail sales. Find out additional details at the link above.
E-Stats is the U.S. Census Bureau's Web site devoted exclusively to "Measuring the Electronic Economy". It features recent and upcoming releases, information on methods, classification systems and background papers.
The latest edition of E-Stats provides a snapshot of e-commerce activity for key sectors of the U.S. economy for 2011 and revises previously released data for 2010.
International Data Protection Laws
Overview of Selected Western Hemisphere Data Protection Laws
Overview of Selected Asia and Oceania Data Protection Laws
The links above provide provide information compiled by the U.S. Department of Commerce on national data protection laws that have either been enacted or are currently under consideration around the world, and are intended to be for information only.
State Laws on Internet Privacy and Data Breach Notification Requirements
The National Conference of State Legislatures publishes information on state laws governing internet privacy and security breach notification requirements. This information is accessible using the links below.
State Security Breach Notification Laws
Selected State Laws Related to Internet Privacy
Disclaimer: These external links are provided for your convenience and information. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views, laws, or policies contained therein. The information on these sites may not be comprehensive or reflect recent changes and legislative updates.