Ever since the recent repeal of net neutrality by the FCC, internet privacy laws in the United States have been at the forefront of many cyber-security petitions and discussions.
However, outside of the U.S, there are still several countries where Internet Privacy is a raging debate, with many individuals finding themselves a bit confused about fair internet usage in their respective countries.
To help our readers stay in the loop regarding Internet legislation, we’ve compiled an article that’ll give you all the necessary information regarding internet privacy laws around the world, which might come in handy later on!
Internet Privacy Legislation around the World:
As is the case seen in most countries, the internet is an open space that needs a specific set of rules to function correctly. Without any clear distinctive boundaries, there can be a lot of disputes between countries over the shared infrastructure of the internet.
In the countries mentioned below, internet privacy laws decide how information obtained by ISPs and governments about their citizens is to be used and vice versa.
Australia Privacy Act:
The Australian government has released a set of 13 principles regarding the handling of citizen’s data known formally as ‘Australia’s Privacy Principles,’ often abbreviated merely as APP.
Amongst the most frequently asked questions citizens have is the fundamental reasoning behind the collection of their information. According to Australian law, any organization that uses individual data needs to be to answer why and how they’re collecting personal information. Moreover, APP also requires organizations to enlist the consequences of not providing their sensitive information, along with how citizens can access their data and complain about any breach.
If any organization faces charges of the unfair treatment of user data, it’s the job of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to look into privacy complaints and investigate the matter at hand.
For a more detailed overview of the Internet Privacy Legislation in Australia, click here.
Canada Privacy Law’s:
The Canadian government has passed the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Data Act, abbreviated as PIPIEDA in 2000.
PIPEDA protects the user’s privacy by setting specific rules as to how a private individual’s information is collected and stored. The Act obligates any individual or organization to collect user information to make it clear to customers in their privacy policies.
Based on ten fundamental principles, PIPEDA ensures that users and individuals can consent to the use of their personal information, access and correct it (if necessary). Moreover, PIPEDA protects privacy by ensuring consumers that their information will be safeguarded by business organizations.
China Privacy Act:
Right off the bat, China hasn’t always had the best reputation when it comes to claims of cybersecurity. With popular websites such as Facebook and YouTube banned in the People’s Republic of China, many consider the country to be backwards when it comes to Internet Regulation.
A new privacy bill revealed in January 2018, referred to as ‘The Standard’ contains specific provisions which urge organizations to remain transparent while dealing with user information.
Moreover, the latest privacy bill also contains provisions that reimburse an individual’s right over their data, along with the requirement of consent over information collection.
For more information on the new privacy bill, check this out.
Denmark Privacy Law’s:
The Danish government passed the Act on Processing of Personal Data in the year 2000. According to the Personal Data Act, the Danish Data Protection Agency has the authority to issue a ban or an enforcement notice to organizations or individuals violating internet privacy laws.
Moreover, the Personal Data Act states that private information can only be collected if the user explicitly gives his or her permission. In addition to that, consent is also required when a company wishes to disclose user data to a third-party advertiser for targeted marketing.
A more detailed outlook on data retention laws in Denmark can be found here.
European Union Privacy Act:
Perhaps the most popular Internet Privacy Law on our list, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was enacted in 2018 and is perhaps the most stringent internet privacy legislation in action today.
At its core, the GDPR serves as a comprehensive legal framework that strengthens and secures data processes within the EU. Moreover, the GDPR simplifies the handling of sensitive user data by businesses since it is written in a reasonably easy-to-understand language.
In addition to protecting user rights, the GDPR also sets out to impose strict penalties on violators of the privacy law, along with increasing consent requirements.
For a more detailed guide to the GDPR, our readers can refer to the official website.
Finland Privacy Law’s:
In Finland, the Act governing data collection and fair use practices is the Personal Data Act.
As per this act, any organization or individual collecting user information needs to have a clear-cut purpose for doing so, along with not using the collected data for any other purpose, including but not limited to targeted advertising.
Speaking of targeted advertising, the Personal Data Act explicitly states that data collected for the marketing purposes should contain basic information, rather than a detailed consumer profile.
For more details on Finland’s data policy, feel free to check this out.
France Privacy Law:
The law governing data privacy on the Internet in France is known formally as the Data Protection Act (DPA). The bill was coined in 1978; however, the version being practiced today was revised in 2004.
The Data Protection Act applies, rather broadly, to the collection of any data that might be able to identify an individual. The penalties mentioned in the Act apply to anyone within the legal boundaries of France, or any organization working within the country. This also explains why France fined Google for the violation of the country’s privacy laws.
As per the DPA, organizations, and establishments are obligated to obtain user’s consent before the collection of their data, along with making clear to citizens the time period their data will be kept for, etc.
If you want to read more about the data retention laws in France, click here.
The German government passed the Federal Data Protection Act of 2001, which explicitly states that the collection of user data without their prior consent is strictly prohibited. Unlike other countries on this list, Germany considers IP addresses to be sensitive user data.
Moreover, the Federal Data Protection Act also makes it illegal for organizations to obtain personal information from third-party sources, which makes buying email lists or targeting consumers with advertisements illegal.
As per the act’s transparency clause, users must be informed of the purpose of data collection. Furthermore, the collected information should be used for the stated purpose only.
India Laws of Privacy:
With that being said, the Information Technology Act also makes clear that passwords and other credentials can’t be collected without the prior consent of the user.
South Korea Privacy Act:
For the South Korean people, the Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Data Protection explicitly states that any organization that obtains user information needs to have prior consent from the consumer.
Moreover, for the consent to be valid, any communications service provider needs to provide the user with the specified details, including the purpose behind the data collection, along with informing users of their rights to their information.
United States Privacy Act:
As we mentioned above, the repeal of net neutrality by the FCC, have brought internet regulatory practices of the US into the limelight.
However, with the repeal being passed, control has shifted from the FCC to the FTC. Although the FTC hasn’t passed any definitive federal laws, but condemn fraudulent data collection nonetheless.
More information about internet legislation in the U.S can be found here.
United Kingdom Privacy Act:
For citizens of the United Kingdom, the Data Protection Action protects them from organizations manipulating collected data for their benefit.
The Information Commissioner’s Office is responsible for upholding information rights in the public interest, which obligates data-collecting organizations to be transparent about their practices, including why data is being collected and how it will be used in the future.
Moreover, the law applies to regular browsing as well since if you’ve got a website using cookies, you need to explicitly state why you’re using them and take valid consent from website visitors.
At the end of the article, we can only hope that we’ve acquainted our readers with the Internet Privacy Legislation practices around the globe.
However, an essential factor to keep in mind is that these legislations might have several loopholes within them, so it is crucial that you do your due research as well, especially if you’re part of an organization using consumer information.