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Looking at Europe from the USA: Current perspectives on data protection


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US and EU privacy laws are very different. The USA recognises that a failure to respect privacy can cause consumer harm while noting that commercial interests also carry weight. Historical and cultural influences focus Europe’s privacy rules on citizens’ rights. While European privacy laws are not new, there are frequently some misconceptions in the USA about the EU’s approach to privacy. In addition, it is only relatively recently that EU data protection rules have started to have a noticeable impact on US commerce. Interestingly, this impact is felt more as a result of commercial contract friction than from the bite of the regulator. US businesses nowadays must pay increased attention to compliance with EU data protection regulations. This paper focuses on the differences between the EU and US privacy landscapes and explores the EU concept of ‘data protection’ and the risk and compliance hurdles it presents. How is EU data protection law viewed from the USA and how can in-house counsel evaluate and adapt to its impact?
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Keywords: Europe; USA; compliance; perspective; privacy; risk

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Data Protection & Privacy publishes in-depth, peer-reviewed articles, case studies and applied research on all aspects of data protection, information security and privacy issues across the European Union and other jurisdictions, in the wake of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the biggest change in data protection and privacy for two decades.
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