OECD Privacy Guidelines

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What Are The OECD Privacy Guidelines?

The OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data are OECD recommendations for a risk management approach to privacy and on transborder information transfer. These guidelines highlight the need for interoperability in a global context, such as cross-border enforcement co-operation. The guidelines also include a set of privacy principles that focus on the practical implementation of privacy protection.


The guidance on this page is based on the OECD Privacy Guidelines

The Eight OECD Privacy Principles

  1. Collection Limitation Principle
    • There should be limits to the collection of personal data and any such data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the data subject.
  2. Data Quality Principle
    • Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which they are to be used, and, to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete and kept up-to-date.
  3. Purpose Specification Principle
    • The purposes for which personal data are collected should be specified not later than at the time of data collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfilment of those purposes or such others as are not incompatible with those purposes and as are specified on each occasion of change of purpose.
  4. Use Limitation Principle
    • Personal data should not be disclosed, made available or otherwise used for purposes other than those specified in accordance with Paragraph 9 except:
      • a) with the consent of the data subject; or
      • b) by the authority of law.
  5. Security Safeguards Principle
    • Personal data should be protected by reasonable security safeguards against such risks as loss or unauthorised access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure of data.
  6. Openness Principle
    • There should be a general policy of openness about developments, practices and policies with respect to personal data. Means should be readily available of establishing the existence and nature of personal data, and the main purposes of their use, as well as the identity and usual residence of the data controller.
  7. Individual Participation Principle
    • An individual should have the right:
      • a) to obtain from a data controller, or otherwise, confirmation of whether or not the data controller has data relating to him;
      • b) to have communicated to him, data relating to him
        • i) within a reasonable time;
        • ii) at a charge, if any, that is not excessive;
        • iii) in a reasonable manner; and
        • iv) in a form that is readily intelligible to him;
      • c) to be given reasons if a request made under subparagraphs (a) and (b) is denied, and to be able to challenge such denial; and
      • d) to challenge data relating to him and, if the challenge is successful to have the data erased, rectified, completed or amended.
  8. Accountability Principle
    • A data controller should be accountable for complying with measures which give effect to the principles stated above.

Who Do The OECD Privacy Guidelines Apply To?

The OECD Privacy Guidelines are intended for use by OECD Member countries to develop national privacy strategies, and to facilitate cross- border privacy law enforcement co-operation.

The OECD member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union takes part in the work of the OECD.

What Data Do The OECD Privacy Guidelines Apply To?

These Guidelines apply to personal data, whether in the public or private sectors, which, because of the manner in which they are processed, or because of their nature or the context in which they are used, pose a risk to privacy and individual liberties.

When Were The OECD Privacy Guidelines Adopted?

On 11 July 2013 the OECD Council adopted a revised Recommendation Concerning Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (“Privacy Guidelines”).

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