Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


informational privacy, data privacy, APEC, European Data Protection Directive


The EU and APEC approaches represent two different ways of thinking about the purpose of privacy rights in personal information (a.k.a. “informational privacy” or “data privacy”). The European approach sees integrity and control over information about oneself as inherent to human dignity; informational privacy is treated as a fundamental right subject only to limited restrictions. In contrast, the approach evinced by APEC is a market-oriented cost/benefit calculus; control over personal information is seen as a beneficial policy goal when it can increase consumer confi- dence and promote economic growth — the implication being that it can also more easily give way in the face of competing economic arguments. These two approaches — one grounded in the language of rights, the other in the language of markets — result in significant differences in both the substantive and procedural protections each regime creates. This article argues that the two approaches are incompatible, and the tension this creates is revealed in the rules regarding the transfer of personal data from Europe to third countries.