The prevalence of Internet communication has made data privacy a global issue, thus international organizations need to keep up to date on the data privacy laws of the countries in which they operate.  With over 195 countries worldwide, each with its own laws and regulations, this is no easy task.  To help navigate this complex landscape, TechRadar provides a great synopsis and resources about data privacy laws around the world.  Here are the high points:

World Leaders in Data Privacy

The European Union

The EU Data Protection Directive has helped position the EU as a world leader of data privacy laws.  The objective of the EU Data Protection Directive is to give citizens back control of their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for business.  Many countries outside of the EU have enacted laws very similar to the EU Data Protection Directive.

The United States of America

Negotiations between the US and EU helped develop, in part, the EU Data Protection Directive.  With the US having the vast majority of the technology industry benefiting from the creation of data, data flow to the US is constantly under scrutiny.


Canada and the EU lead the world in terms of legislating personal data.  As with the EU Data Protective Directive, Canada’s Digital Privacy Act was developed in relation the US.  The Act came into force to help guard Canadians’ private services like Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and YouTube.

Asia Pacific Countries

Asian privacy laws are country-specific rather than regional, thus Asia Pacific lacks centralized standards.

In recent years, however, several Asian countries have agreed on The Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation (APEC) Privacy Framework.  While APEC has provides a rough framework for a common approach to principle-based regulation, policymaking and enforcement vary significantly by jurisdiction.  Early leaders in Asia Pacific data protection were Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.  Recently China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines have joined the early leaders in passing comprehensive legislation.

Latin America

As with Asia Pacific countries, the fast growing market of Latin America has some specific targeted laws, but no centralized standards.  As Uruguay, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico are still developing their technological base – legislation and policy is trying to keep up to date.

Resources for Data Privacy Laws Around the World

The world is in flux when it comes to data privacy law, and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.

The following resources will help you navigate the ever-changing privacy laws in the countries in which your organization operates: