Global Visualization of Countries with Data Privacy Laws, Treaties, or Conventions

Background and Methodology: The conceptualization and initial research for this global visualization began in 2020. The research sought to document the primary comprehensive data protection and privacy legislation at the national level of jurisdictions / countries, using original source documents and other primary sources, such as interviews. Key data protection and privacy treaties and conventions were also included. The initial output was completed, underwent a fact check, and was sent for peer review in 2023. The peer review uncovered gaps related to the United Nations M49 Standard. To address these gaps in the data, the table was substantively reworked and additional research was conducted, including additional field research. The research for the project was completed 8 May, 2024 and underwent final fact checking and then data visualization. First publication: 10 June, 2024.

Who: Pam Dixon, research. John Emerson, data visualization. See additional information in Credits.

Special thanks: With special thanks to the UN Statistics Division and to ID4Africa. See additional information in Credits.

Methodology note: This work seeks to document key legal instruments as comprehensively as possible utilizing the UN M49 Standard as a framework for the regions and subregions. The M49 standard also designates developing countries, which this data visualization also includes. WPF conducted detailed research and interviews regarding the key treaties, conventions, and legislation to determine in particular the comprehensiveness, origin, and enforcement mechanisms of the instruments, among other broad characteristics. However, this research does not seek to provide a detailed comparative evaluation of the legal instruments identified. Further evaluative and analytical work is designated to be conducted as separate follow-on work. WPF has made every effort to ensure the data in this chart is accurate to the best of our abilities.

To use this data visualization: Each jurisdiction or country in the world has an associated country card with data governance information and links. The power of this data visualization is to filter and sort the country cards to reveal patterns and regional details. To do this, each geographic region has been assigned a color, which is shown on the map just below. The timeline directly under the map represents each country as a single dot. There are two boxes. Use the Filter by Region box to select region or subregion. The region will show on the timeline. Use the Sort box to select from a list of data governance options, for example, filter for countries that have passed legislation, or ratified the Malabo Convention, or ratified Convention 108+, among additional fields. The Sort box changes the country cards below the timeline. (Sorting will not change the appearance of the timeline). Note:  If you select no filters or sorting at all, the timeline will show all countries, and all country cards of jurisdictions with some form of comprehensive legislation in place. Those countries with data protection in place will be represented as dots on the timeline. Each country card provides links to the data, with details about what is in place, including presence of a data protection authority, if there is draft legislation in process, and other details. See special note about filtering for the Malabo Convention.

Developing countries: To see data for the Least Developed Countries or Small Island Developing States or Landlocked Developing Nations, use the Filter by Region box and scroll down — developing country options are listed after the regional options.


Workd Map


Standard Used for this Table: This table uses the United Nations M49 Standard, (UN M49), , The UN M49 standard standard sets country/ jurisdiction names, geographic regions, and geographic subregions and other details, such as standard country or area codes for statistical use. The UN M49 standard was established in 1970 and is updated periodically. Names of countries are agreed upon by UN Member States through UN Protocol. The M49 Standard adopts the official UN short names of countries. There are many subtle details in the standard, which has been negotiated over decades. WPF has utilized this standard to determine country name, geographic region, and geographic subregion, among other details available in the standard. WPF has made two inclusions in the chart to allow the inclusion of the comprehensive data protection legislation in those territories. WPF added an alternative name for one region in Africa based on its use by the African Union.

The two inclusions and one alternative name are as follows:

*Taiwan does not appear in UN M49. It is included in this chart because Taiwan has passed comprehensive data protection legislation. See M49 Standard note on Taiwan:

*Kosovo does not appear in UN M49. It is included in this chart because Kosovo has passed comprehensive data protection legislation. See M49 Standard note on Kosovo:

*Western Sahara is the name the M49 Standard uses for a region which the African Union refers to as either Western Sahara or the Sahrawi Republic. We have included both names.

*Regarding disputed territories, this data visualization utilizes UN maps. WPF is a non-political public interest research group and does not take a position on boundary disputes.

*Note about Filtering for the Malabo Convention: If the region of Africa is selected and the Malabo Convention sort filter is selected, the countries that have fully ratified the Malabo Convention are listed first. After this, the countries that have only signed the Malabo Convention (i.e., not fully ratified it) are listed.

Publication history: First publication date: 10 June 2024. WPF will update the chart periodically.

Credits: *Conceptualization and research (desk and field research), Pam Dixon. *Data Visualization: John Emerson. *Ian Rutherford of the UN Statistics Commission introduced the M49 Standard to this work in a critically important peer review. *Kate Kaye ran a detailed fact check of the pre-peer-review material. *ID4Africa facilitated this work by assembling the Data Protection Authorities of Africa multiple times, allowing for in-person discussion of country-level data protection activities in the region. * Data Protection Authorities, government officials, and statistical experts graciously shared their time with WPF during the course of this project. The Mauritius DPA was the first office visited in person for this project in January 2020, and the Mongolian Data Protection Authority, housed in its Human Rights Commission, was the final in-person interview for this project in April 2024. With thanks to all who assisted with this work.

Copyright and Fair Use:

© Copyright Pam Dixon, John Emerson. All rights reserved.

This work is made available to the public free of charge. This work may be cited with credit. If longer citations or re-use in a publication is desired, please contact WPF for permissions. This work may not be sold or repurposed for commercial purposes, it is to remain available free of charge.

Suggested Citation:

Pam Dixon, research; John Emerson, data visualization and design; Global Visualization of Countries with Data Privacy Laws , Treaties, or Conventions, World Privacy Forum, June 2024. Available at: