An Overview of Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Laws Around the World

Categories: Advice for Start-ups and Entrepreneurs
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The world has become increasingly connected in recent years. However, connectivity has also paved the way for cyber threats to increase, resulting in the adoption of cybersecurity laws and regulations.

Staying compliant with these laws is not just for the general public’s sake. Doing so can also help your business overcome IT challenges and ensure long-term success as the world becomes more digital. Read below to know more about the data privacy laws around the world and how to stay compliant.

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An Overview of Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Laws Around the World

1. European Union (EU)

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Overview: The GDPR aims to harmonize data protection regulations across the EU member states. The law provides strict guidelines for collecting, storing, processing, and sharing consumer information, emphasizing the need to obtain informed consent before gathering and using their data.

It may also require your organization to inform customers and relevant authorities about data breaches within 72 hours.

Note that this law covers all organizations handling the personal data of EU residents. Whether your business operates inside or outside the region, you must still comply with the GDPR to continue serving EU residents.

Penalties: Depending on which is greater, serious violations can lead to fines of up to 4% of your organization’s annual global revenue or €20 million. For lesser infractions, you may have to pay 2% of its annual global revenue or €10 million.

2. United States of America

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

Overview: The CCPA is a comprehensive data privacy law enacted in 2018 to protect the personal information of the state’s residents. 

If your business is under California’s jurisdiction, transparency in customer data management is mandatory. Under this law, you must let your consumers know what personal information you’ll collect and how you’ll use them. Moreover, consumers can ask you not to sell their data to third parties and even delete them.

Penalties: Non-compliance can result in significant fines, ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 per violation. 

The cybersecurity law also includes provisions for financial compensation in case of a data breach. These compensatory damages range from $100 to $750 per affected California resident per incident. However, there may be cases wherein actual damages exceed this range. In these situations, affected individuals can claim a higher compensation equivalent to the actual damages.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

Overview: This cybersecurity law aims to safeguard the confidentiality and security of an individual’s health data, known as protected health information (PHI). According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, these protected information include:

  • Doctors’ medical records about the patient
  • Doctor’s conversations with healthcare staff
  • Insurer’s data about the patient’s health
  • Clinic billing information about the patient
  • Other regulated health information

Healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses must implement measures ensuring the privacy and security of PHI. If your organization is under this classification, you must have administrative, physical, or technical protocols that prevent unauthorized access or disclosure. 

HIPAA may also require you to let stakeholders access their medical records, request amendments, and obtain information about your privacy practices.

Penalties: Non-compliance with this data privacy law can lead to civil monetary fines per violation, ranging from $100 to $50,000. However, companies may face up to a $1.5 million financial penalty per year for each offense.

It can also lead to criminal charges, depending on the severity of the violation. For example, less serious offenses may result in fines of up to $50,000 and one year of imprisonment. Meanwhile, more severe cases can result in penalties of up to $250,000 and 10 years imprisonment.

3. United Kingdom

Data Protection Act of 2018

Overview: The Data Protection Act of 2018 provides a legal framework for data privacy similar to the GDPR. This cybersecurity law provides standards for collecting, using, and storing personal data while giving individuals the right to access and correct their information.

Under this data privacy law, your organization must appoint a data protection officer (DPO) to ensure you handle customer data responsibly and securely. Moreover, you must also contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to report all data breaches your company has encountered.

Penalties: Depending on what’s higher, serious violations can result in fines of up to 4% of your company’s global revenue or £17.5 million. 

4. Canada

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

Overview: The PIPEDA is Canada’s national data privacy law. It governs the private sector’s collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. The law aims to balance the privacy rights of individuals and the need for organizations to collect and utilize personal data.

Obtaining consent when collecting personal information is necessary when operating in Canada. They are to be used only for the stated purpose. The law establishes guidelines for retaining and disposing personal data to prevent unauthorized access. Moreover, you are mandated to give consumers access to their information and request corrections if necessary. 

Penalties: Canada’s cybersecurity law doesn’t specify the amount of monetary penalties for non-compliance. However, failing to comply can result in reputational damage, as the Officer of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) publicizes those who have violated PIPEDA. 

Besides this consequence, some Canadian provinces have their own data privacy laws for businesses in the private sector with separate penalties. Private citizens can sue non-compliant organizations for damages.

5. Australia

Australian Privacy Act 

Overview: This law requires organizations operating in Australia to develop and implement a privacy policy explaining the collection, usage, and disclosure of consumers’ personal information.  

Additionally, the law gives individuals the right to anonymity and pseudonym use in their personal data as long as it is lawful and practicable. They also have the right to access personal information, especially when correcting them is necessary. In case of privacy breaches, they reserve the right to complain.

Penalties: Serious and repeated cases of non-compliance are under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). They investigate complaints and assess the violations. Depending on the assessment, non-complying organizations may be penalized with a maximum amount of AUD 2.1 million per violation.

In case of data breaches, affected individuals can go to court and demand compensation. Furthermore, the OAIC can compel non-complying organizations to implement specific measures that rectify privacy breaches and enhance their protocols.

6. Philippines

Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA)

All organizations operating in the Philippines must adhere to the DPA concerning data management. This data privacy law presupposes that businesses must implement protection principles as they collect, use, store, disclose, and process personal information. Examples of these principles are:

  • Acquiring the party’s informed consent
  • Using and collecting data for legitimate purposes only
  • Guarantees accurate and transparent data usage
  • Safeguarding personal data by implementing adequate security measures

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) was established to uphold these principles and the data privacy rights of all individuals. They are the regulatory body overseeing the DPA’s implementation and enforcement. 

Penalties: Firstly, non-complying organizations will receive administrative penalties. They may face warnings and revocation of privileges for processing personal data temporarily or permanently. Depending on the extent and severity of the offense, the violating company will need to pay fines ranging from P50,000 to P5 million.

Under the provisions of the DPA, affected individuals from the breach of privacy obligations have the right to initiate civil proceedings and seek compensation. These legal actions can lead to courts granting the affected individuals actual, moral, and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. 

More than that, certain DPA violations can also lead to criminal charges, such as imprisonment of up to six years and fines ranging from P500,000 to P2 million. 

7. International

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

Overview: The PCI DSS concerns itself with safekeeping payment card data and securing corresponding transactions, helping organizations maintain robust cybersecurity measures. You are subject to this standard if your company stores, processes, or transmits cardholder data.

This cybersecurity law has several conditions organized into six primary goals and 12 relevant security requirements. The PCI DSS necessitates that your company maintains a secure network, has robust access controls, and develops data security policies. The standard also mandates regular monitoring and testing for security systems. 

To ensure that companies stay compliant, the Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council (PCI SSC) will oversee everything related to this law. PCI SSC members include major payment card brands like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and JCB.

Penalties: Data breaches and non-compliance can result in hefty fines. These monetary penalties may range from thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the scope and severity of the violation.

Non-compliance can also lead to increased risk exposure. As such, payment card brands may impose higher transaction fees for companies that fail to comply with the PCI DSS. They may also revoke the non-compliant company’s ability to process card transactions. On top of that, affected individuals can file lawsuits against non-compliant companies for damages. 

How to Remain Compliant with Cybersecurity Laws

1. Create a cybersecurity compliance team

Establish a dedicated cybersecurity compliance team within your organization. This team will oversee and implement the necessary measures to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. It should consist of experts in the field of cybersecurity, data protection, legal affairs, and IT governance. 

2. Identify the rules and regulations you have to comply with

Cybersecurity laws and regulations vary across jurisdictions and industries. So, you must identify the specific rules and regulations applicable to your organization. For example, catering to EU residents may entail staying compliant with the GDPR law. 

Thoroughly researching and understanding the legal landscape ensures that your organization can align its cybersecurity practices with the appropriate requirements.

3. Conduct a risk analysis

A comprehensive risk analysis is fundamental in maintaining cybersecurity compliance, as it involves identifying potential vulnerabilities, assessing the likelihood and impact of security incidents, and prioritizing risk mitigation efforts. With it, you can proactively determine and address threats, ensuring the protection of sensitive data.

4. Set security controls

Security controls encompass a wide range of measures. Examples include access controls, encryption, network security, and incident response procedures. You must tailor these security controls to the specific risks identified in your analysis.

5. Ensure IT staff is well-briefed with the pertinent laws

Your IT staff will be responsible for your system and network management, so ensure they are well-versed in relevant laws and regulations. They must be knowledgeable and updated on the requirements specific to your region and industry. Regular training and awareness programs guarantee your staff can effectively implement and enforce cybersecurity measures. 

Ensure Business Success Through Compliance

Cyber threats continue to rise as the world becomes increasingly connected. As such, the need for robust cybersecurity measures has become more pressing. Staying compliant with the pertinent data privacy and cybersecurity laws can help your business overcome these threats and cement its longevity in today’s digital world.

Partnering with a reliable recruitment agency like Manila Recruitment can help you comply with these laws as you cross international borders. We are one of the top recruitment agencies in the Philippines, ready to help you find the best remote and offshore IT workers for your cybersecurity compliance team.

Contact us today to know more.


DISCLAIMER: The information in this webpage / blog / article / infographic we have published and the associated commentary are presented as general information and is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice in this area. Manila Recruitment does not accept liability for any action taken based on the information presented or for any loss suffered as a result of reliance on the information provided.

Lawrence Barrett