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Reasons for Privacy Laws

There are several reasons that laws are being passed on a global basis to protect individual privacy. Countries pass laws for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Electronic commerce advancement— As technology is being used to launch smaller countries into the world arena, laws protecting consumers have the added benefit of promoting commerce and driving business. Setting up rules and regulations for secure business transactions help develop economies. Larger countries such as those in the European Union (EU) use privacy regulations as a method of assuring consumers of the security of their data. To compete on a global scale, companies must take into account the restrictions between countries regarding privacy, or lack thereof.

  • Consistent application with Pan-European laws— Countries in Central and Eastern Europe are adopting new laws based on the Council of Europe Convention and the European Union Data Protection Directive. The directive on the “Protection of Individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data” sets a benchmark for national law. Joining the EU in the near future is the goal of many countries. In addition, countries such as the U.S. and Canada must adapt to the EU laws to do business. More than 40 countries now have data protection or information privacy laws.

  • Consumer pressure— Advocacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have brought consumer pressure to bear on laws that affect consumer privacy, and they campaign for laws to better protect consumers.

  • Technological advancement— Technology development has exposed consumer information to just about anyone who has any technical savvy. Gaining information about someone is very easy, so laws are necessary to protect consumers. Technological tools that have been developed provide some consumer security, but laws are needed to provide the rest of our security needs.


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