International Privacy Standards
Privacy is a universal human right. Here is a list of international accords related to privacy that serve as the foundation for national laws, policy frameworks, and international agreements throughout the world. EFF frequently draws on these documents in our arguments to protect privacy.
International Privacy Frameworks
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
The OECD is a forum of more than 30 countries that has developed forward-thinking guidelines on the protection of privacy and transborder data flows. Decisions made within OECD are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.
Council of Europe
Like the United Nations, the 47 member states of the Council of Europe have drafted several agreements to advance citizens' privacy rights as part of a broader commitment to cooperation and the development of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
- Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data 1980
- Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows 2001
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
APEC is an inter-governmental organization operating on the basis of non-binding commitments. Unlike other multilateral trade bodies APEC, has no treaty obligations required of its participants. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis. APEC has 21 members.
European Data Protection Directive
The Directive has been designed to protect the collection use and disclosure of personal information held by the private and public sector. The Directive was adopted by the European Union and have been transposed into national law by the 27 members states.
- Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data
International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners
Each year the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners brings together the highest authorities and institutions guaranteeing data protection and privacy, as well as experts in the field from every continent.
Other International Instruments
- Article 12 The Universal Declaration on Human Rights 1948
- Article 17 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966
- Article 16 The Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989
- E/CN.4/1990/72: Guidelines for the regulation of computerized personal data files 1990
- Article 8 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950
- Council of Europe: Recommendations and resolutions of the Committee of Ministers
- Council of Europe: Recommendation No.R(99) 5 for the protection of privacy on the Internet 1999
- OECD Guidance on Policy and Practice: Privacy Online (book)
- OECD Guidelines on Cross-Border Privacy Law Enforcement 2006-ongoing
- OECD Guidelines for the Security of Information Systems and Networks: Towards a Culture of Security 2002
- Article 18 The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam 1990
- Article 4.3 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa 2002
- Article 5 American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man
EFF Related Content: International Privacy Standards
- One country’s government shouldn’t determine what Internet users across the globe can see online. But a French regulator is saying that, under Europe’s “Right to be Forgotten,” Google should have to delist search results globally, keeping them from users across the world. That’s a step too far, and would conflict...
- The Obama administration promised privacy protections for foreigners abroad, but PPD-28 fails to deliver those protections In early 2014, still reeling from global outrage over recently uncovered surveillance programs, President Barack Obama pledged to rein in the U.S. government’s spying and boost privacy protections for people in the U.S. and...
- Having for years enforced a constitutionally offensive border search regime at physical borders and U.S. international airports, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently proposed to expand its violations in troubling new ways by prompting travelers from countries on the State Department’s Visa Waiver Program list to...
- Baycloud Systems has become the latest company to join the EFF’s Do Not Track (DNT) coalition, which opposes the tracking of users without their consent. Baycloud designs systems to help companies and users monitor and manage tracking cookies. Based in the UK, it provides thousands of sites across...