This is the first in a series of articles that outline the legal position on an individual’s right to privacy with regard to personal data held across the world. There is an implicit assumption that every individual has the right to privacy. In fact, you could say it is a human right. This right to data privacy is being or has been codified into law across the globe. There is only one major exception in the free Western world, and that is the US, where there is no legally backed guarantee to data privacy. Yes, there is the common-law tort of invasion of privacy derived from English law and the 1974 Privacy Act. However, a guaranteed protection of data rights has never been codified into federal statute in the US, whereas more than eighty other countries and independent territories—including the EU; the UK; and the majority of Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and large parts of Africa—now have comprehensive data-protection laws.
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