The sweeping effects of globalization continue to transform the economic fortunes of organizations. Companies that were previously content to limit their business operations to the United States are now branching into international markets in an effort to increase their revenues. As clients push into far-reaching markets, they frequently encounter a complex set of international data protection and privacy laws. These laws present a novel challenge to American companies, which enjoy fewer domestic restraints on collecting and storing personal data of employees and consumers. The ability to comply with these laws could be the difference between seizing business opportunities or drowning the enterprise in attorney fees, legal minutiae and lost opportunities.
Data privacy laws are not alien concepts to American corporations. Contrary to popular belief, laws do exist in the U.S. to help protect certain personal and financial information from unauthorized disclosure. At the federal level, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, or GLBA, requires certain financial institutions to implement appropriate safeguards to protect consumers’ confidential information. Other federal safeguards include the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, more commonly known as the Stored Communications Act. The SCA generally protects individuals from the unauthorized disclosure of their emails, social networking posts or other electronic communications by third-party providers.
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