2014 was a very eventful year for data privacy regulation in Asia and there are reasons to believe that 2015 will represent a turning point for the region as established privacy regimes are toughened and new regimes enacted in recent years begin to mature. The past year saw a number of significant regulatory developments, in particular the implementation of new, comprehensive “European-style” privacy laws in Singapore and Malaysia, the amendment of China’s consumer protection law to include data privacy principles and increased financial penalties in South Korea.
A new law in China taking affect in March of this year will provide businesses with a clearer understanding of what types of information are protected as consumer personal information in China. This new definition will clarify companies’ obligations with respect to the use and processing of that information under other Chinese laws and regulations. A failure by businesses to recognise these new requirements can lead to onerous penalties including fines.