Privacy Laws

EPIC maintains a variety of resources on U.S., state, and international data protection laws to educate policymakers and others interested in learning about privacy and civil liberties issues.


The U.S. lacks a comprehensive privacy law. Despite increased interest in privacy and data protection in recent years, the federal laws in the U.S. governing the privacy of personal data largely regulate certain industries and categories of data.

Most privacy legislation in the United States is enacted at the state level. Many states have privacy legislation on employment privacy (drug testing, background checks, employment records), Social Security Numbers, video rental data, credit reporting, cable television records, arrest and conviction records, student records, tax records, wiretapping, video surveillance, identity theft, library records, financial records, insurance records, privileges (relationships between individuals that entitle communications to privacy), and medical records.

Internationally, foreign governments have enacted more comprehensive data protection legislation, most notably the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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