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Measuring the Brussels Effect through Access Requests: Has the European General Data Protection Regulation Influenced the Data Protection Rights of Canadian Citizens?

Author: Mahieu, R., Asghari, H., Parsons, C., van Hoboken, J., Crete-Nishihata, M., Hilts, A., & Anstis, S.
Published in: Journal of Information Policy, 11, 301-349
Year: 2021
Type: Academic articles
DOI: 10.5325/jinfopoli.11.2021.0301

We investigate empirically whether the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) improved compliance with data protection rights of people who are not formally protected under GDPR. By measuring compliance with the right of access for European Union (EU) and Canadian residents, we find that this is indeed the case. We argue this is likely caused by the Brussels Effect, a mechanism whereby policy diffuses primarily through market mechanisms. We suggest that a willingness to back up its rules with strong enforcement, as it did with the introduction of the GDPR, was the primary driver in allowing the EU to unilaterally affect companies' global behavior.

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