Forrester’s 2014 Data Privacy Heat Map Highlights Rampant Government Surveillance And Increased Regulation Around The Globe

Corporations spend a lot of time and money to ensure their employee- and customer-facing technologies are compliant with all local and regional data privacy laws. However, this task is made challenging by the patchwork of data privacy legislation around the world, with countries ranging from holding no restrictions on the use of personal data to countries with highly restrictive frameworks. To help our clients address these challenges, Forrester developed a research and planning tool called the Data Privacy Heat Map (try the demo version here). Originally published in 2010, the tool leverages in-depth analyses of the privacy-related laws and cultures of 54 countries around the world, helping our clients better strategize their own global privacy and data protection approaches. 



The most recent update to the tool, which published today, highlights two opposing trends affecting data privacy over the past 12 months:

  • Increased government surveillance continues to impede the free flow of information. Corporations worry that storing or processing data within the borders of a country with high levels of governmental surveillance could place their intellectual property at risk. Notable additions to the tool's growing list of countries with lowered barriers to government surveillance include the US, Germany, and the UK.
  • Global momentum toward the EU’s model of data privacy regulation has led to new laws and better protection for the consumer. Many non-EU countries have passed laws over the past 12 months that bring the world’s collective standards around data privacy closer to the high-water mark laid out by the EU’s overarching Privacy Directive. For instance, countries such as Malaysia and South Africa have recently passed new data privacy frameworks that closely follow the EU’s lead. South Africa has even gone one step farther and implemented provisions that will likely be implemented by the future EU Privacy Directive updates.

Because information is a powerful business asset, modern businesses need to have the know-how to operate in this increasingly global economy. Forrester sees this Data Privacy Heat Map as a valuable source of information for our clients and is committed to updating the map on an ongoing basis. Forrester also provides strategic consulting services to help organizations navigate data security and privacy issues at every step of the information life cycle. To hear more about the Data Privacy Heat Map tool, read our privacy-related research, find out more about our privacy consulting services, or discuss privacy issues in general, visit or reach out to our data privacy team (@ChrisShermanFR, @heidishey, @Andy_Forrester, @ManatoshDas1, @kelleymak10) on Twitter.


Great content, thank you! Our

Great content, thank you! Our company commits significant resources to tracking changes in the digital regulatory landscape - posts like this hilight why that's so important!

Long way to implementation

Hi Chris

This resource is very useful and thanks for putting together the tool as this tool can clearly help a person like me while doing a global planning for web.

I am a beginner in the world of privacy but I keep myself updated with the latest trends in this field as it directly effects my field of marketing technology.

I think the bigger challenge is is implementing those privacy laws. EU is definitely the leader and I really thank them for leading it but still it is far away from really implementing it on the ground level. I am aware of the new Cookie Sweeps going live in Sept there is enforcement happening there but still it seems we are far away from major implementations of these privacy laws.


Great to see that regulation

Great to see that regulation is improving the experience for consumers, though it may present challenges for organization as they abide by the new regulations.