where in the world do data privacy regulations apply

Where in the World Do Data Privacy Regulations Apply?

As government regulations surrounding the use of sensitive data tighten up further in your region, it may leave you wondering…where in the world do data privacy regulations apply? This is an important topic for a number of reasons. Of course, you want to comply with any necessary regulations to protect against penalties or fines. But more importantly, you want to do right by your customers or users – and keep their sensitive data out of the hands of criminals.

That’s why today, we’re going to address the scope and reach of data privacy regulations. As you’ll soon discover, some 80% of the world has either an existing data privacy regulatory framework or one in the works. While the specific regulations vary from country to country, we’ll break down all that you need to know so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your business is compliant and your users are safe. 

Understanding Data Privacy Regulations

Data privacy regulations are laws or frameworks that dictate how for-profit businesses can collect, store, use, and share sensitive information about individuals. This includes everything from a person’s name and email address to their financial information and health records. In recent years, the definition of “sensitive data” has expanded to include biometric data – like fingerprints or iris scans – as well as GPS location data. That’s because biometric authentication is becoming more and more commonplace – and if stolen, could be used for devious purposes. Having your digital identity compromised can ruin your life.

There are two main types of data privacy regulations: sector-specific and general. Sector-specific regulations apply to certain industries, like healthcare or finance. General regulations don’t target any specific industry but instead focus on more generally protecting the rights of individuals with regard to their personal data in a variety of situations.

Now that we know what these regulations are…why do you need to be concerned with where in the world data privacy regulations apply?

Why Does it Matter?

As a business, you need to be aware of where in the world data privacy regulations apply for two primary reasons. First and foremost, you want to avoid any penalties or fines that could come as a result of violating these regulations. But secondly – and just as importantly – you want to make sure you’re doing right by your users or customers. After all, they trust you with their sensitive information – and it’s your responsibility to keep it safe from prying eyes.

The good news is that there are plenty of solutions available to help businesses comply with data privacy regulations – no matter where in the world they operate. We’ll touch on some of those later on. But first, let’s answer our next question: where do these regulations actually apply?

Where in the World Do Data Privacy Regulations Apply?

As it turns out, data privacy regulations are in place all over the world. In fact, according to the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), 80% of countries have either an existing data privacy regulatory framework or are in the process of drafting one. And this number is only expected to grow in the coming years – as more countries adopt such requirements, and more businesses operate on a global scale.

The specific regulations vary from country to country. But there are some general principles that tend to be included in most data privacy frameworks. For example, many jurisdictions require businesses to obtain some form of meaningful consent from individuals before collecting, using, or sharing their personal data. Other regulators impose restrictions on how long businesses can keep this data on file. And still, others give individuals the right to access and correct the personal data that businesses have collected about them.

Of course, simply being aware of where in the world data privacy regulations apply is only half the battle. The other half is ensuring your business is compliant with these regulations – no matter where you operate. We’ll cover that later on. First, let’s take a look at some of the most robust data privacy regulatory frameworks currently in existence throughout the world:

  • The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): First adopted in 2018, this statute is the most well-known data privacy regulatory framework in existence. It applies to any business that processes the personal data of citizens and other individuals within the EU – regardless of where the business is actually located. And it imposes strict requirements on how businesses can collect, use, and store this data.
  • The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): This is a sector-specific regulation that applies to businesses that operate in California.  Compliance is mandated for those businesses having annual revenues over $25 million, or collecting the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices. It gives Californians the right to know what personal information businesses have collected about them, as well as the right to have this information deleted.
  • The Singapore Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA): This is a comprehensive data privacy regulatory framework that applies to any business that processes the personal data of individuals in Singapore – regardless of where the business is actually located. The law includes strict requirements around consent, data retention, and security, among other things.

These are just a few examples of where in the world data privacy regulations apply. But it’s important to keep in mind that this list is far from exhaustive. So if your business processes the personal data of individuals in any jurisdiction – no matter where it’s located – it’s important to be aware of the specific regulations that apply. With that said, let’s talk about how you can ensure your business is compliant with data privacy regulations in your respective region.

How Can You Ensure Your Business Is Compliant with Data Privacy Regulations?

There are a few different steps you can take to ensure your business is compliant with data privacy regulations – no matter where in the world you operate. It starts with knowing your specific regulations:

Know Your Specific Regulations

First and foremost, you need to be aware of which specific regulations apply to your business. This will vary depending on cogent factors like your industry, jurisdiction, and target markets. We mentioned above a few of the specific regional/national/state regulatory frameworks, but you can easily find your specific guidelines by doing a quick search online. And if you’re unsure, you can always reach out to us – we’ll guide you through the process.

Put Processes in Place to Protect Data

Next, you need to put processes and procedures in place to ensure your business is actually compliant with these regulations. This might include things like ensuring you have explicit consent forms for individuals before collecting their personal data, putting security measures in place to protect this data, or only keeping this data on file for as long as necessary for valid business purposes.

You should also appoint someone within your organization to be responsible for compliance. Both the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Data Protection Officer are becoming much more commonplace in the C-suite of major corporations.  Smaller businesses have similar needs as well.  Creating these roles and clear lines of responsibility internally will help ensure that compliance remains a top priority for your business – and not just an afterthought.

Stay up to Date on Data Privacy Regulations

Finally, you need to stay up-to-date on changes to data privacy regulations. These regulations are constantly evolving – so it’s important to make sure your business is always compliant. The best way to do this is to sign up for our newsletter, where we’ll send you the latest updates on data privacy regulations.

How FortifID Can Help You Stay Compliant With Data Privacy Regulations

We hope this has helped you appreciate where in the world data privacy regulations apply. But, if you’re looking for a solution to help your business comply with these regulations, look no further than FortifID.

Our digital onboarding and authentication solution goes above and beyond typical solutions. The innovative technology we use in our processes doesn’t actually store any raw data. Instead, algorithms travel to the raw data and return to your system with insights. This means if a hacker breaches your security measures and gets into your database, there is no data for them to steal. You can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re not just compliant, but your customers’ and users’ sensitive data is safe and secure.

Whether you’re in the financial services industry, real estate, or any other industry that verifies and authenticates customers, this kind of solution is something you need. Our products consist of online identity verification, AML screening, income verification, employment verification, age verification, bank account verification, and even business verification.

Where in the World Do Data Privacy Regulations Apply?

As you now know, there are applicable regulatory frameworks throughout some four-fifths of the world. The tricky part is determining the applicability of specific regulations to your business and becoming fully compliant. 

But no matter how much work it is or how hefty the investment is, this isn’t something you can afford to overlook. Not only are there serious fines and penalties for failure to comply. Your very reputation is also at stake. Your customers have entrusted their sensitive data to you in the digital onboarding and verification process – you owe it to them to fully safeguard it, and them. If your database is breached, and sensitive customer data is compromised, your entity’s brand and reputation will be in shambles.

Don’t let that happen to you.  Take the time to learn more about how FortifID can help protect yourself, your business, and most importantly, your customers!

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