IAPP’s Data Protection Officer Requirements by Country Chart

Published on April 24, 2021
Earlier this month, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) released a chart outlining the necessity of a data protection officer (DPO), or that of a similar role, on a per-country basis, for organizations processing personal identifiable information (PII). There are several important take-aways: (1) the chart specifically identifies countries that require a DPO (although best-practices makes it prudent to consider appointing a DPO even where it is only “recommended,” and not necessarily “required;)” (2) privacy regulations are rapidly-evolving and growing around the world and the trend is towards increasing privacy safeguards for consumers; and (3) global organizations are under increasing privacy pressures and should consider company-wide adherence to the “most-restrictive” regional DPO requirement imposed on them to best ensure overall privacy regulatory compliance.

As evidenced in the IAPP’s DPO Chart, the necessity for and responsibilities of DPOs vary greatly from country to country. For instance, in the European Union, (27 Member-States): the DPO must be either a contractor or employee of the business, should possess expert-level knowledge of data protection law and practices, and must report to the “highest management level.” While in the United States, DPOs must be competent in certain federal laws containing privacy regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and growing state privacy laws and regulations (e.g., California and Nevada’s more stringent privacy protection laws). Finally, in China, a business is legally required to appoint a DPO who is required to have both management and data protection expertise and is further required to report directly to the principal of the organization.    

In sum, the IAPP’s DPO Chart underscores that a DPO is far more than just a checkmark for an organization to demonstrate compliance. Certainly, failure to appoint an adequately experienced DPO can result in significant monetary penalties. However, an experienced DPO with a solid understanding of the business’s data collection and use processes can provide the business with a competitive advantage as more and more customers are growing increasingly concerned about how their personal information is gathered, processed, transferred, and stored. 

For more information about how ADVISORI can help, please see our previous blog post at:  https://advisori.com/blog/the-outsourced-data-protection-office/.


To view IAPP’s DPO Chart, please go to: