Global data privacy laws 2021: Despite Covid delays, 145 laws show GDPR dominance
During 2019-20, the number of countries that have enacted data privacy laws rose from 132 to 145. Graham Greenleaf analyses the trends.
The 50th anniversary in 2020 of the world’ s first data privacy law,(1) the Datenschutzgesetz 1970 of the state of Hesse in Germany, marked the start of the second half-century of global enactment of data privacy laws. This article gives a brief assessment of progress during this 50 years, but focusing on changes in 2019-20.
In summary, during 2019-20, the number of countries that have enacted data privacy laws rose from 132 to 145, a 10% increase (2017-18 also saw a 10% increase). Most of the 13 new laws are from 2019, before Covid-19 slowed down legislative activity world-wide. At least 23 other countries have official Bills for new laws in various stages of progress within the last five years. During 2019-20, at least 13 countries have updated or replaced existing laws (almost always influenced by the EU’s GDPR). At least a further 11 have introduced Bills to do so, many in countries of global economic or political significance (see details later). All of this adds up to nearly 60 countries world-wide where there was legislative activity in 2019-20 concerning data privacy, resulting in new or updated laws in 26 countries.
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