Since Data Privacy Day is just around the corner (January 28), we thought it would only be appropriate to discuss the importance of data protection and to use this submission as an opportunity to raise awareness, promote privacy and data protection, and highlight the best practices that are currently observed by almost 50 countries worldwide. 

Data regulation in Canada 

Canada is one of the forefathers of data protection, providing guidance for online businesses with its Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which was enacted in early 2000. Based upon ensuring that e-commerce companies maintain accountability, PIPEDA applies to the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activity. This means that all federally-regulated businesses such as banks, airlines, and telecommunications companies also fall under its scope. 

Essentially this means that all not-for-profit organizations, political parties, and associations as well as educational institutions and hospitals (with no engagement in commercial activities), are outside of the jurisdiction of the Canadian data protection and privacy law. 

Data regulation in the US

While some data protection laws are only relevant within certain states or respective industries, most seek to protect the personal information of all types of consumers. For those wondering how it works, we will use the state of California as an example. 

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) gives consumers more control of the personal information that businesses collect about them, including the right to say no to the processing of their data and the right to know what will be done with it and who it will be shared with if they agree to allow a business to use their data. Failure to comply with the CCPA can lead a business to pay up to $7500 in fines for intentional violations.

In the state, roughly 50% of revenue comes from selling customer data, which is a huge margin of profits for online retails who are looking to increase their brand awareness and conversions to better target their future online campaigns. 

Data regulation in The European Union 

Similar to Canada, the European Union implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which standardizes data protection rules across all EU countries. The following act applies to all businesses, both physical and online, that offer the sale of products or services within the EU. This allows businesses to use data after the consumer confirms permissions to do so, which includes asking each customer to confirm their approval via email. 

How do the laws around data protection affect digital marketing? 

Data plays an essential role in the success of an e-commerce business’s ability to possess high-performing digital campaigns. With a team of professionals analyzing consumer data, you can better understand what the behaviours are of your target audience within your niche market, allowing you to tweak campaign strategies to cater to the unique preferences of each individual customer. 

Although each country may differ in some ways, their data protection laws operate under the same principles and aim to ensure that the personal information of customers is secure, therefore giving consumers more control over their data. 

How to ensure that your online business isn’t breaking any laws: 

  1. Ensure that you have the right permission: Data protection regulations are constantly changing, which means that you should put the appropriate measures in place to ensure that you’re only using the data that you’ve gained permission to use. We recommend that you automate this process wherever possible by creating a security page that discusses how customer’s data will be used and ensuring that each purchaser is given the chance to share their data with your company by complying with terms and conditions. 
  1. Maintain data focus: Since businesses possess the ability to collect vast amounts of data every day, it’s important to know which sets of data are imperative to your business growth and which can be discarded. A digital marketing specialist is experienced in dealing with data and will be able to take such measures to ensure that you aren’t holding on to anything that will pose a liability for your business in the future. 

Do you live somewhere outside of the countries that we discussed in this article? Please share your data protection laws in the comments section below. 

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