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Homeland Security

Readout of Secretary Napolitano's Remarks to the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners

Release Date: 
November 4, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Madrid - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today delivered remarks about the importance of information sharing to protect against global security threats while ensuring privacy and civil liberties protections at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners.

“Responsible information sharing is one of our most effective tools in deterring global threats and enhancing our mutual security,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The United States is committed to working closely with our international partners to share valuable law enforcement information while maintaining strong privacy protections.”

In her remarks, Secretary Napolitano highlighted national security information sharing agreements between the United States and its European allies that facilitate the exchange of law enforcement data—emphasizing the critical role played by multinational initiatives in preventing acts of terrorism and interdicting transnational criminals.

Secretary Napolitano also met with Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba to discuss customs and law enforcement cooperation as well as efforts to ensure privacy with regard to bilateral information sharing partnerships between the United States, Spain and the European Union.

In Madrid, Secretary Napolitano participated in a ceremony recognizing the important work done by U.S. and Spanish customs officials to combat transnational arms and cash smuggling in two recent operations in which coordinated efforts between the countries helped yield significant seizures, arrests and indictments of transnational criminals.

Since January, the United States and Spain have collaborated on two new bilateral initiatives to bolster mutual national security efforts—one to exchange fingerprints and other data on known terrorists and criminals while protecting individual privacy and another to expand science and technology cooperation in order to enhance security and combat transnational threats.

Secretary Napolitano’s week-long visit to Europe and the Middle East began yesterday in Denmark, where she joined her counterparts to discuss ongoing multinational efforts to address human trafficking and other transnational crime.

In the coming days, Secretary Napolitano will travel to the United Kingdom, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates to meet with her international counterparts to discuss information sharing and privacy protection; collaborative efforts to secure cyber networks worldwide; international response to the H1N1 global pandemic; and coordination to combat transnational criminal activity and the global threat of terrorism.

Since January, Secretary Napolitano has launched partnerships and bolstered international engagement around the world—facilitating improved information sharing and better protection against violent extremism.

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