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State of Legal Protections in Asia

We have conducted research on the legal environments in a number of Asian countries. This was not so simple as identifying "Privacy Law 19xx" but rather, we assessed the real state of regulatory protections (e.g. the jurisdiction and powers of the regulators) and legal protections (e.g. case law).

When we met with partners across the region we identified a number of analytical points to identify the strength and weaknesses of the existing legal protections (see final section of this report).  We also conducted analyses of the news coverage on privacy issues.  We monitored the news and media resources for a 12-month period to identify some of the privacy news stories that emerged on some of the countries that we focussed on, namely India, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand.  This is not a comprehensive listing of the news and developments in each country, but rather serves as an indicator of the particular issues on the policy agenda in each of these countries.1 Moreover, journalists may often get the technicalities of privacy issues slightly wrong. We found that this was particularly the case in the domain of communications surveillance, where journalists equate wrongly the retention of telephone logs with the retention of communications content.


  • 1. There are certainly limits to this form of analysis.  The reports from the Philippines came easily, but less so from Thailand and Pakistan — the former probably due to language issues, and the latter due to the lack of online media. [In particular, it was remarkable to see the number of links that were about the privacy that tourists can find in some exotic location in Thailand.]  But we can still see some of the trends, and identify key stakeholders for future contact.  A lot of the stories are also from the West articulating concerns about the lack of privacy in outsourcing, e.g. 'Outsourced — And Out of Control', Andy Greenberg, Forbes, September 30, 2008.