has inserted data privacy rules covering the government sector in legislation dealing primarily with freedom of government information.153 Singapore has so far decided to establish a data privacy regime based on voluntary, self-regulatory schemes that are linked with its national trust mark program.154 The primary catalyst for the schemes seems to be commercial concerns.155 The People’s Republic of China lacks any credible data privacy regime. Some legal rules have been adopted that potentially provide indirect protection for data privacy,156 but their operational potential is rendered nugatory by a political culture that traditionally shows scant respect for personal privacy.157 Moreover, there is little, if any, sign that China is ready to adopt more effective data privacy rules in order to meet E.U. adequacy standards. By contrast, India is reported to be considering the enactment of a data privacy law modeled on the E.U. Directive largely owing to a fear that its burgeoning outsourcing industry will flounder without such legislation in place.158

Legal regimes for data privacy are least developed in the African countries, taken as a whole. As noted above, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 1981 omits mentioning a right to privacy in its catalog of basic human rights. Moreover, none of the African countries has enacted comprehensive data privacy laws.

Nevertheless, some countries display increasing interest in legislating on data privacy. This interest is partly due to the obligations imposed by ICCPR Article 17. It is also probably due partly to a desire to meet the adequacy requirements of E.U. Directive Articles 25 and 26. In some cases, stimulus is also provided by recent firsthand experience of mass oppression. The Republic of South Africa has come farthest along the path to establishing a comprehensive legal regime on data privacy. Express provision for a right to privacy is made in Section 14 of the South African Bill of Rights set out in Chapter 2 of its Constitution of 1996. Also included (in Section 32) is a broad right of access to information held in both the public and private sectors. Freedom-of-information legislation


See Official Information Act of 1997, described in C. Opassiriwit, “Thailand: A Case Study in the Interrelationship Between Freedom of Information and Privacy,” Privacy Law and Policy Reporter 9:91-95, 2002.


See Model Data Protection Code for the Private Sector of 2002; Industry Content Code of 2002.


For criticism of the schemes, see G. Greenleaf, “Singapore Takes the Softest Privacy Options,” Privacy Law and Policy Reporter 8:169-173, 2002.


See further, Electronic Privacy Information Center and Privacy International, Privacy and Human Rights 2003, 2003, pp. 197-200.


Electronic Privacy Information Center and Privacy International, Privacy and Human Rights 2003, 2003, pp. 200-210.


See A. Pedersen, “India Plans EU-Style Data Law,” Privacy Laws and Business, May/June, No. 68, pp. 1, 3, 2003.

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