FPF Asia-Pacific

The Future of Privacy Forum’s Asia-Pacific office was launched in Singapore in August 2021, under the leadership of Dr. Clarisse Girot.

In accordance with FPF’s general mission, FPF Asia-Pacific aims to serve in the wider Asia region as a cooperative platform of reference to advance principled privacy and data protection practices and policies in support of emerging technologies. A related objective is to develop these conversations within Asia-Pacific (APAC), but also to operate as a trusted communication hub between APAC and the other regions of the world.

Our trademark in Asia: neutrality, respect for diversity, and regional cooperation

From its inaugural event hosted by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of Singapore during the “Personal Data Protection Week” (PDP Week 2021), the office has placed its work under the sign of regional and multi-stakeholder cooperation, with a focus on data protection issues specific to the region.

The data protection landscape in APAC is marked by legal fragmentation, intensive law- and rule-making, great diversity in levels of development and approaches to data protection and data flows, as well as unique geopolitical complexity. Like in the other FPF regional offices, FPF Asia-Pacific leadership is particularly attentive to the development of our work in an inclusive manner, taking into account the diverse social, economic, and cultural specificities of the region.

True to FPF’s DNA, the Asia-Pacific office will observe strict neutrality in all of its work. The promise of neutrality must be understood as neutrality vis-à-vis the actors involved, countries, models of regulation covered in FPF’s field of expertise, and the type of activities in which FPF runs or is involved in. FPF does not engage in lobbying and does not represent or defend the interests of any of its members.

The FPF Asia-Pacific office is regularly engaging with premier networks of regulators, including the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA), the Asia-Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum (APPA), and is contributing to multiple working groups of supra-national organizations such as G20, APEC, and ASEAN.

In October 2021, a digital policy dialogue co-organized with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signaled the importance given by our Asia-Pacific office to the theme of personal data protection and development in the most economically contrasted region of the world.

Network of stakeholders and partners

We are developing our activities as a complement to the action of existing data protection and privacy networks in the region and in conjunction with a broad network of regional partners. This diversity aims to ensure the representativeness of contributions and adaptation of content to local needs.

FPF Asia-Pacific collaborates with outstanding partners on the ground to develop adapted outreach programs, organize in-country events, and develop local thought leadership and relevant expertise for the specific needs of the region.

In September 2021, FPF entered into a collaboration agreement with the Asian Business Law Institute (ABLI), a subsidiary of the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL). With this partnership, FPF Asia Pacific and Singapore’s top legal think tank have agreed to join forces to offer a unique cooperation platform to support the convergence of data protection regulations and best privacy practices in the region.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP is supporting the work of the office in the context of an ad hoc administrative arrangement between FPF and R&T.

Key focus areas and jurisdictions

The regulation of personal data flows and the localization of data is a major issue in the legislative and regulatory movements underway in the region and will therefore remain another permanent area of focus for the office.

Since its inception, FPF Asia-Pacific has devoted a significant part of its activity to the theme of the convergence of personal data protection rules in Asia. FPF’s flagship project for 2021 – 2022 in Asia-Pacific, carried out jointly with ABLI, on regulatory coherence of consent requirements and other lawful bases for data processing in the region, falls under this heading.

We track key data protection developments and key regulatory trends in the region, for instance following the adoption of China’s PIPL, India’s new intermediary and digital media rules, the overhaul of New Zealand’s Privacy Act, or how the 2020 amendments to Japan’s APPI have transformed the ways in which companies conduct business in or with Japan.

FPF Asia-Pacific Council

The Asia-Pacific Council (“APAC Council”) is a standalone membership group for companies active in Asia-Pacific that meet regularly, exchange views with experts from the region, and participate in dedicated calls and events. APAC Council Members advise on the activities of the office.

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FPF Asia-Pacific Upcoming Events

Description: For January, FPF’s Privacy Book Club will read Simon Chesterman’s ‘We, the Robots? Regulating Artificial Intelligence and the Limits of the Law. The book examines how our laws are dealing with AI, as well as what additional rules and institutions are needed – including the role that AI might play in regulating itself. For this virtual discussion, I’m joined by our book author and National University of Singapore College Vice Provost and Dean Simon Chesterman, FPF’s Dr. Clarisse Girot and Sara Jordan, as well as Keio University’s Dr. Fumio Shimpo and UnionBank of the Philippines’s Dr. David Hardoon.


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