Privacy Legislation: A Global Perspective

Friday, September 25, 2015 9:17 pm, Posted by Absolute Destruction

Several months ago, we explained the ins and outs of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and how it regulates the way companies can record and dispose of personal information collected from their clients. We also discovered the details regarding the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), the particulars of which prevent the misuse of medical information collected from patients in Ontario. Though these laws pertain to our clients in the GTA, Canada isn’t the only nation that is developing and passing legislation to protect its citizens from privacy infringement. Countries all over the world are ratifying privacy protection laws with the purpose of regulating how their businesses collect, use, and dispose of confidential information. Let’s see how other countries are currently trying to reduce their rates of identity theft.

USA – Many people (mostly Americans) would have you believe that our neighbours to the south have similar privacy laws, but that simply isn’t the case. Privacy protection is often left to the discretion of individual states and is provided by highly industry-specific legislation and self-regulation. There are some overarching federal laws (like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and The Privacy Act 1974) that provide safety measures should private information be misused anywhere in the country.

Europe – Though home to 50 countries, most of Europe’s privacy laws are governed by the European Union. Nearly 20 years before PIPEDA was created, the European Commissioner adopted The Data Protection Directive in 1995. Based on transparency and accountability, the directive protects Europeans’ personal information, stressing the need for consent should any data be collected, disclosed, and discarded. Since The Data Protection Directive was drafted when the capabilities of digital storage and the internet were in their infancies, the European Union is planning to replace it with a new bill. Entitled the General Data Protection Regulation, it will take into account how technological advances (like the cloud and social media accounts) will affect privacy.

UK – British Parliament enacted the Data Protection Act (DPA) in 1998 in order to respect the EU’s Data Protection Directive. Similar in many ways to Canada’s PIPEDA, it regulates how companies can store and distribute client information. Legislated by the Information Comissioner’s Office (ICO), breaches can amount to £500,000 in fines and possible prison sentences. Great Britain further protects its citizens’ private information with the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations, which standardizes how an individual can be contacted for marketing purposes, particularly through telemarketing techniques.

This is just a small snapshot of the world and is in no way representative of the sheer scope and size of privacy laws around the world. Most developed countries have (or are currently in the process) of developing their own legislation to reduce the rights of companies and protect its citizens from harmful misuse of confidential material. Back home in Canada – specifically Southern Ontario – the PIPEDA and PHIPA look like they’re here to stay. Accordingly, we’ve design our scheduled commercial services to adhere to proper disposal techniques set by the government and the National Association for Information Disposal (NAID). We also like to keep an eye on global developments in privacy laws in addition to Canadian legislation, so you know you can trust us to improve our mobile shredding services any time there’s a new advancement that will keep your business and its disposal techniques secure. To schedule an appointment today remember you can contact us by phone or email whenever you get the chance!

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