November 14, 2011, 2:25 PM

European Regulators Approve First Data's Global Privacy Policy

First Data is the first payment processor to have achieved this recognition.

ATLANTA, Nov. 14, 2011 – First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, today announced that its binding corporate rules for data privacy have been authorized by the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office. First Data’s binding corporate rules have been approved by the data protection authorities in 18 European Union member states. First Data is the eleventh company to be authorized by the Information Commissioner’s Office, making it one of only a handful of companies worldwide that have completed this rigorous process to establish the highest standards of global data privacy practices. First Data is the first payment processor to have achieved this recognition.

The European Union’s Data Protection Directive is recognized worldwide for establishing rigorous data privacy protections. Binding corporate rules are a company-wide privacy policy to guarantee that a company’s practices are consistent with the European data protection law. They are considered the platinum standard for compliance with the European Union Data Protection Directive. First Data’s binding corporate rules are designed to enforce a consistent high standard for protecting personal data throughout the organization, and will allow First Data to transfer personal data from the European Economic Area to its affiliates elsewhere in the world—which is prohibited under the European Union Data Protection Directive unless adequate safeguards are in place.

“Data privacy is fundamental to the success of our business, and we’re deeply committed to protecting the information entrusted to us by our clients and employees alike. We have high standards for data privacy, and this recognition from exacting European regulators demonstrates our global leadership in data protection compliance,” said First Data Chief Executive Officer Jonathan J. Judge.

“First Data should be commended for its commitment to the concept of binding corporate rules and for the respect for the privacy of individuals that this demonstrates,” said David Smith, Deputy Information Commissioner for the United Kingdom. “The ICO welcomes approaches from multi-national organizations that need to share personal information within their own group, but outside Europe and who want to use binding corporate rules to enable that.”

First Data’s binding corporate rules are based on a set of principles, established in 2006, that limits access to personal data and only permits the transfer of personal data based on clear business need, and then only with adequate security and when all legal requirements are met. Now, the company will be able to respond to data transfer needs more quickly, contain infrastructure costs and manage its resources more efficiently. First Data’s customers can be confident that the company’s data protection practices have been scrutinized and approved by the European data protection regulators.

The initiative to create the binding corporate rules for data protection was led by John Atkins, First Data’s chief privacy officer, who oversaw the development of the company’s privacy program in the United States. First Data worked with the London office of the global law firm SNR Denton to develop and secure approval for its binding corporate rules.

Following approval of the binding corporate rules by the European data protection regulators, First Data will complete the formal local administrative processes and begin training and implementation.

Around the world, every second of every day, First Data makes payment transactions secure, fast and easy for merchants, financial institutions and their customers. First Data leverages its vast product portfolio and expertise to drive customer revenue and profitability. Whether the choice of payment is by debit or credit card, gift card, check or mobile phone, online or at the checkout counter, First Data takes every opportunity to go beyond the transaction.

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