Model provisions for data protection in Commonwealth countries: How do they fit?

Graham Greenleaf analyses the content and importance of the Commonwealth model clauses which could be used as a template for new privacy laws by Member States.

The Commonwealth comprises 56 Member States(1) almost all of which have English as a lingua franca, a legal system based on the common law, and a colonial/constitutional history linked to the UK. Nevertheless, they do not have a great deal in common when it comes to data protection and privacy laws. The traditional common law did not include a tort of invasion of privacy, but some Commonwealth jurisdictions have introduced versions of such a tort (e.g. in Canada, and New Zealand), and some have extended the action for breach of confidence to protect personal information (e.g. the UK). Data privacy legislation has been enacted, albeit with very significant variations, in 41 Member States, but that still leaves 15 Commonwealth jurisdictions (UN member states) with no such legislation.(2)

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