Understanding the Global Regulatory Process
Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Francesca Bignami and David Zaring
Introduction. A new field: comparative law and regulation
When individuals post their photographs, shopping habits, and other personal data to social networking sites they are tracked and potentially harassed by the scores of corporate actors with access to their data. As governments worldwide have sprung into action to address this regulatory problem, industry groups and consumer advocates have also mobilized. To give but one example, in the past three years, the world’s leading social networking company has defended lawsuits claiming unfair consumer tracking in the United States and the European Union (EU), has settled administrative and civil enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Belgian Data Protection Authority, and the Hamburg Data Protection Authority, and has lobbied for looser consumer-tracking rules in the European Union, the United States, Latin American countries, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation system. Although there are substantial limits on what social networking sites can do with personal data in the European Union and many Latin American countries, there are relatively few restrictions in the United States and various Asian jurisdictions.