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This report received the 2022 Privacy Papers for Policymakers Award for its pioneering look into the real but often overlooked challenges that regulators face in the fight for rights-respecting data privacy laws.
Since 2018, over sixty countries around the world have enacted or proposed new data protection laws, with those numbers steadily increasing each year. Data protection regulatory bodies and agencies are entrusted with massive responsibilities to enforce these newly passed laws across all sectors of society- often while significantly under-resourced with small budgets and skeleton staff. Many countries continue to grapple with the issue of independence, as these bodies are frequently housed within, funded by, or connected to ministries and executive offices while also tasked to ensure government entities and political parties comply with the law.
In late 2021, Internews’ ADAPT project brought together a group representing data protection regulatory authorities (DPAs) in 11 countries across Africa and Latin America for a roundtable to discuss the challenges that they face in setting up, implementing, and enforcing newly created data protection laws as well as to brainstorm best practices and opportunities for cross-border collaboration. Building on this conversation and drawing on additional interviews with regulators and key informants from civil society, this report seeks to outline the key challenges faced by DPAs and areas for support and information sharing.
This report will ideally be a starting point to develop additional resources to support DPAs, build cross-regional networks, and develop a deeper understanding amongst privacy advocates on how to support and push regulators to ensure laws are properly enforced.