We’ve cautioned before about the danger of thinking only about US state “comprehensive” laws when looking to legal privacy and data security obligations in the United States. We’ve also mentioned that the US has a patchwork of privacy laws. That patchwork is found to a certain extent outside of the US as well. What laws exist in the patchwork that relate to a company’s activities?

There are laws that apply when companies host websites, including the most well-known, the California Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA). It has been in effect since July 2004, thus predating COPPA by 14 years. Then there are laws the apply if a company is collecting and using biometric identifiers, like Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Companies are subject to specific laws both in the US and elsewhere when engaging in digital communications. These laws include the US federal laws TCPA and TCFAPA, as well as CAN-SPAM. Digital communication laws exist in countries as wide ranging as Australia, Canada, Morocco, and many others. Then we have laws that apply when collecting information during a credit card transaction, like the Song Beverly Credit Card Act (California).

Putting It Into Practice: When assessing your company’s obligations under privacy and data security laws, keep activity specific privacy laws in mind. Depending on what you are doing, and in what jurisdictions, you may have more obligations to address than simply those found in comprehensive privacy laws.