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HL Chronicle of Data Protection Privacy & Information Security News & Trends
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Hogan Lovells Launches Coalition for Privacy and Free Trade: Former EU Ambassador to US, Former US Trade Representative and Former White House Privacy Lead Involved

Hogan Lovells today announced the formation of the Coalition for Privacy and Free Trade. The formation of the new coalition follows the announcement by President Obama that the United States and the European Union soon will commence negotiations for a Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (formally, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)), and Japan’s announcement of its intention to join the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

The objectives of the Coalition are to address the issue of non-tariff trade barriers that result from disparate privacy/data protection law frameworks around the world, and to promote interoperability and international comity between differing national frameworks. Membership is open to businesses committed to digital free trade and to the protection of personal privacy.

As privacy becomes a topic for trade negotiations in an unprecedented way, the Coalition will have unique leadership from both the privacy and trade worlds:

  • Former EU Ambassador to the United States, Hugo Paemen, and former United States Trade Representative (USTR) Clayton Yeutter, Senior Advisors with Hogan Lovells, will play key roles in the Coalition.
  • Coalition leadership also includes Privacy and Information Management partners Christopher Wolf and Harriet Pearson, and International Trade partners Warren Maruyama and Jonathan Stoel.
  • Daniel J. Weitzner, an expert on privacy law and policy, directs the MIT CSAIL Decentralized Information Group and was recently the United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy in the White House. Mr. Weitzner will be the Senior Academic Advisor to the Coalition.

Christopher Wolf is Director of the Hogan Lovells privacy practice and founder/co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum think tank. Mr. Wolf testified recently before the US International Trade Commission on the key substantive issues that will be presented in the US-EU negotiations. Harriet Pearson is the former Chief Privacy Officer of IBM. Warren Maruyama is the former General Counsel of USTR, and Jonathan Stoel is the Vice Chair of the International Trade Committee of the Federal Circuit Bar Association.

In announcing the formation of the coalition, Mr. Wolf said:

Digital trade in the U.S. and global economies can flourish only if there is adequate protection of personal data. The privacy and security of personal data, and the respect for personal control of data, must be paramount in the digital trade environment. At the same time, excessive, duplicative or inconsistent regulation designed to provide the needed protections can put a brake on robust digital trade and economic growth.

The purpose of the Coalition for Privacy and Free Trade is to enable companies to support their government officials charged with negotiating the new trade agreements, such as the US-EU Free Trade Agreement, by providing concrete information and education on ways to achieve interoperability of privacy and data protection regulations.

Senior Academic Advisor Weitzner observed:

Promoting greater interoperability between US and EU privacy regimes can be a win for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic, reduce barriers to the free flow of information, and provide the basis for shared leadership on global Internet policy by the United States and Europe together.

As part of its initial efforts, the Coalition plans to canvas the views of interested companies on submitting comments to USTR as it begins negotiations with the EU for a trade agreement. A meeting of coalition members is planned for early April.

Representatives of businesses interested in joining and supporting the coalition should contact Christopher Wolf at christopher.wolf@hoganlovells.com.