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Is the Brussels Effect Creating a New Legal Order in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean?

 |  April 16, 2024

By: Patricia Boshe & Carolina Goberna Caride (Technology & Regulation Journal)

Brussels serves as the hub for the EU legislator, where influential norms like the EU Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) are crafted, giving rise to the concept known as the Brussels effect. Essentially, the Brussels effect refers to Europe’s ability to wield unilateral power in regulating global markets through its legal institutions and standards. This phenomenon of regulatory globalization acts as a gatekeeper in the global digital economy, compelling foreign countries and companies to adhere to EU regulatory standards to engage in the EU internal market.

Data protection law stands out as a prime example of the Brussels effect. The GDPR, in particular, exerts significant influence beyond the EU borders. As highlighted in the 2018 annual report of the Mauritius Data Protection Commission, the GDPR’s impact is felt profoundly, with the commission frequently invoking its provisions to ensure compliance and enforcement. The report underscores the importance of adhering to GDPR fundamentals not only for regulatory compliance but also to uphold Mauritius’ reputation as a safe, democratic country that respects fundamental human rights, including the right to privacy.

The GDPR’s influence extends far beyond the EU, shaping regulatory landscapes and enforcement practices worldwide. Its provisions are instrumental in safeguarding privacy rights and promoting data protection globally. As the Mauritius Data Protection Commission’s report illustrates, the GDPR serves as a benchmark for countries seeking to maintain their credibility in the international arena by aligning with EU standards on data protection.

This study delves into data protection dynamics in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean (referred to as LAC), examining the EU’s influence on the development of data protection laws in these regions. The aim is to assess the extent to which these laws are shaped by the Brussels effect…