2020 ends a decade of 62 new data privacy laws

Graham Greenleaf, PL&B Asia Pacific Editor and Bertil Cottier, Professor of Law, University of Lugano, Switzerland, review the latest developments.

The decade 2010-2019 has seen 62 new countries enacting data privacy laws, more than in any previous decade. The numbers of new countries with laws per decade are: 1970s – 10; 1980s – 10; 1990s – 20; 2000s – 40; 2010s – 62. This gives a total of 142 countries.

By the end of the 2020s, if the current trajectory of enactment of new data privacy laws continues, there will be over 200 countries (including self-governing territories) with data privacy laws. What started as a novelty in one German State (Hesse) in 1970 will have covered the globe with its influence in 60 years.

Since publication of the most recent Global Tables of Data Privacy Laws in January 2019,(1) which included 132 countries with such laws, a further ten laws have been enacted or located. They include six from Africa, three from Central Asia, and one from the Caribbean. Brief descriptions of each of these laws follow.

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