Data protection legislation outside the UK

John Martyn (Aslib Research & Consultancy)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Publication date: 1 August 1985


At present there are data protection laws in Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States, and of course their United Kingdom. Legislation is in preparation in Belgium, and in Portugal and Spain, these last two countries proposing to deal with privacy issues by making provision in their respective constitutions. Because of their federal structure, Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the United States also have laws at the local — state, Land or Canton — level. Finland, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Yugoslavia have considered the protection of personal data to the extent of having reports prepared, which in some cases are being considered by their legislatures. Within the European Community therefore, five member states have data protection laws, two have legislation in process, and three, Ireland, Italy and Greece, have none. Ireland has a government report in preparation, and some aspects of individual privacy are covered by existing common‐law and other provisions. Italy has a government report in preparation, Greece so far as I know is not likely to take any action in the short term. Of course, because a country has no specific data protection laws it does not necessarily follow that there is no degree of control over information relating to individuals, along the lines for example of our own Consumer Credit Act of 1974, which established certain individual rights to be informed of, and be allowed to change or challenge, credit information.


Martyn, J. (1985), "Data protection legislation outside the UK", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 37 No. 8, pp. 329-337.

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Copyright © 1985, MCB UP Limited

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