Privacy is something many people expect to have, but until very recently, it isn’t something we truly have a “right” to. With the dawn of the internet age, privacy seems to become more and more obsolete. But recent law changes are pushing the privacy needle more towards being a right, depending on where you live.
In Europe they have the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which applies to EU (European Union) citizens and organizations doing business within EU member states. To throw in some not-so-fun challenges, each member state generally has their own separate exceptions and regional guidelines.
In Canada they have PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act)
In the UK (United Kingdom) they have the DPA (Data Protection Act). This was an offshoot of the GDPR until Brexit happened.
Australia has the APP (Australian Privacy Principles).
In New Zealand they also have “principles” under the Privacy Act.
Who has the right to privacy?
Typically, it’s a person living in the state, province or country that has the act. Sometimes, it also applies to people passing through these regions as well.
Typically, it’s a person or organization that owns a website or software that tracks any personal information. Different countries call these organizations different names from “businesses” to “organizations” to “data collectors”. Basically, if you are tracking people on your website or around the web, it means you.
Usually, a privacy violation is a slap on the wrist for most countries if you make a mistake the first time. The person who feels their privacy has been violated has to first complain to the company that violated and/or breached their privacy and see what they’re going to do about it.
If you continue just sharing people’s personal information all over the internet after they asked you to politely stop, you can get hit with fines ranging from $5,000 (US on the low end) to $10,000,000 (or greater in Australia – usually only if you’re a big business). Usually though, the fine makes the business responsible for any financial losses an individual suffered as a result of you breaking their privacy.
What should you do now?
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