Comparison of US Privacy Laws with GDPR



Data is a precious commodity; privacy laws and regulations play a pivotal role in safeguarding individuals’ personal information. Two of the most significant frameworks governing data protection are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and various privacy laws in the United States. This blog will provide an insightful comparison of US privacy laws with GDPR, shedding light on their similarities and differences. Whether you are preparing for a GDPR Course or an interview where GDPR Interview Questions might be posed, understanding these distinctions is crucial.

Understanding GDPR: A Global Benchmark

In 2018, the European Union created a comprehensive framework known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. It is seen by many as one of the strictest data protection laws in the world. By giving people more control over their data and mandating that businesses implement stringent data protection procedures, GDPR seeks to empower individuals.

Some key aspects of GDPR include:

  1. Principles, including data reduction, purpose restriction, and data accuracy, are enforced by GDPR. Organizations are required to gather and handle just the information required for the intended use.
  2. Before personal data may be handled, individuals must provide their clear and informed permission. They are free to change their mind at any moment.
  3. Individuals are granted certain rights under GDPR, including the ability to view, update, and remove their data. Additionally, they are entitled to data portability, which lets them move their data across service providers.
  4. Authorities and impacted parties must be informed of data breaches by organizations within 72 hours.
  5. Establishing strong data protection policies, keeping track of data processing operations, and, in certain situations, appointing Data Protection Officers (DPOs) are requirements for organizations.

US Privacy Laws: A Patchwork of Regulations

The GDPR in the European Union and US regulations pertaining to data privacy are more similar to one another. The US has a patchwork of state and federal laws governing privacy, each with varying standards and areas of application.

Among the most important US privacy laws and rules are:

  1. California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): The CCPA, effective in 2020, is one of the most comprehensive state-level privacy laws in the US. It gives citizens of California certain rights regarding data privacy, such as the ability to refuse to have their data sold and the right to know what data is being collected.
  2. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): A federal statute known as COPPA regulates the online gathering of personal information from minors under the age of thirteen. Parental approval is needed before collecting data from children.
  3. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA is a federal law that regulates the privacy and security of health information. It covers insurers, healthcare providers, and the businesses that they associate with.
  4. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA): The GLBA imposes data protection requirements on financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies, to safeguard consumers’ non-public personal information.
  5. State-level Laws: Many states have their privacy laws, and the scope and requirements can vary significantly. Legislation similar to parts of the GDPR has been proposed, for instance, in Nevada and Maine.

Key Differences Between GDPR and US Privacy Laws

Let’s dive into the key differences GDPR and US Privacy Laws:

  1. The GDPR applies to all organizations, regardless of location, that handle the data of inhabitants of the European Union. It has an extraterritorial reach. On the other hand, US privacy rules are mostly relevant to certain sectors of the economy or areas like California.
  2. GDPR grants data subjects a number of rights, including the ability to view, amend, and remove their personal information. US privacy regulations may not be as comprehensive, but they do give certain privileges.
  3. While US legislation may include opt-out procedures, GDPR strongly emphasizes express and informed permission.
  4. Under GDPR, data breaches must be reported within 72 hours. State-by-state and data-type-specific laws govern breach notification in the United States.
  5. Non-compliance with GDPR may result in significant penalties, which may amount to as much as 4% of a company’s yearly worldwide turnover. Legal consequences in the US might differ and be less harsh.

Preparing for GDPR: GDPR Course and Interview Questions

Knowing the ins and outs of GDPR is crucial, whether you’re a professional seeking to improve your grasp of the legislation via GDPR training or getting ready for a job interview where concerns about GDPR may come up. Here are some important things to think about:

  1. GDPR affects everyone everywhere; it is not just confined to the EU. Knowing its tenets may be very helpful, particularly if your position entails privacy compliance or data protection.
  2. Know your rights as a data subject under the GDPR since recruiters could inquire about how companies should respond to requests from data subjects.
  3. To explore how GDPR differs from US privacy regulations, familiarize yourself with its data processing principles, such as data minimization, purpose restriction, and transparency.
  4. Recognize that explicit permission and openness in data processing are essential components of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as they are essential to the law.


While safeguarding people’s data is a shared objective of both the GDPR and US privacy laws, their rules and areas of application are quite different. The US legal environment is made up of a patchwork of state and federal regulations, while GDPR establishes a worldwide standard for data protection. Whether you’re taking GDPR training or getting ready for GDPR interview questions, professionals trying to navigate the complicated world of data protection need to be aware of these distinctions.