Asia-Pacific Data Privacy: 2011, Year of Revolution?

Kyung Hee Law Journal, Forthcoming

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2011-29

17 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2011 Last revised: 7 Feb 2012

Date Written: August 11, 2011


Nearly a quarter of a century after data privacy laws (or as the Europeans say, ‘data protection’) first appeared in Asia and the Pacific, the year 2011 is developing as a watershed year. The past year to July 2011 has seen more dramatic developments in the expansion of data protection laws in Asia than any previous year. Legislative action seems to parallel the accelerating scale of threats to privacy, typified by massive data breaches in country after country, but the causal relationship is beyond the scope of this article.

This article surveys data privacy legislation developments across Asia (from Japan to Pakistan, and from Mongolia to Indonesia), plus Australasia and the Pacific. It does so by sub-regions, in order of where the most dramatic recent developments have taken place: South Asia; North Asia; Indo-China; Australasia and the Pacific. The emphasis is on developments over the last 18 months, but background on previous data privacy laws is provided.

The article also considers (i) Which factors give the best indication of the strength of privacy protection provided by laws in the Asia-Pacific?; (ii) What are the main external influences on the development of data protection in the Asia-Pacific?; and (iii) What justification is there for calling this a ‘year of revolution’?

Suggested Citation

Greenleaf, Graham, Asia-Pacific Data Privacy: 2011, Year of Revolution? (August 11, 2011). Kyung Hee Law Journal, Forthcoming, UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2011-29, Available at SSRN:

Graham Greenleaf (Contact Author)

Independent Scholar ( email )



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