Asia-Pacific Developments in Information Privacy Law and its Interpretation

25 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2007


It is easy to be preoccupied with our domestic information privacy laws to the exclusion of the international context in which they operate and the international forces on their formation and implementation. In this paper I provide a brief survey of the main international agreements and institutions currently influencing the development and operation of information privacy laws in Asia-Pacific countries. I suggest that Asia-Pacific Privacy Commissioners are yet to achieve a significant enough collective role; that the UN is largely irrelevant to the future of privacy protection; that the APEC Privacy Framework is a missed opportunity for a meaningful regional privacy agreement; and that it is now potentially useful for less developed countries provided a careful eye is kept on the role of the US and its privacy allies; that we need to better understand the interpretation of privacy principles by Courts, Tribunals and Commissioners so as to develop an Asia-Pacific privacy jurisprudence, and that our best hope for some type of meaningful international standard may be (strange as it seems) for Asia-Pacific countries to join the Council of Europe privacy Convention.

Keywords: Privacy law, Asia-Pacific, Privacy Principles, APEC, data protection

Suggested Citation

Greenleaf, Graham, Asia-Pacific Developments in Information Privacy Law and its Interpretation. UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2007-5, Available at SSRN: or

Graham Greenleaf (Contact Author)

Independent Scholar ( email )



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