Tuesday, February 28, 2017
National DP Laws Now in 120 Countries
Since 1973, when Sweden became the first country to enact comprehensive data protection legislation at a national level, an accelerating number of countries have followed suit. According to the latest compilation and analysis by Prof. Graham Greenleaf, published by Privacy Laws & Business, some 120 countries now have omnibus laws at the national level. In addition, another 31 countries have formulated and are considering such laws. The only major countries at this point without comprehensive national data protection legislation, either enacted or drafted, are India, China and the U.S., with China taking incremental steps towards adoption of internationally-accepted privacy standards. The growing isolation of the U.S. with respect to its approach to privacy protection can also be seen in the fact that the U.S. is the only member of the OECD, which currently has 35 members, to lack comprehensive data protection legislation. How the U.S.’s targeted, fix-it-later-maybe approach to privacy protection will play out in President Trump’s new world of America First and trade protectionism remains to be seen. To the extent that transfers of personal data become a trade issue, the leverage resides with the 120 countries hewing to a common standard.