Despite some progress, many least developed countries (LDCs) still lag behind in cyberlaw reforms, according to the UNCTAD Cyberlaw Tracker released on 24 February. This has negative implications for cross-border data flows, trade and digitalization. The tracker shows that LDCs that have adopted privacy and data protection laws rose from 43% in 2020 to 48% in 2021, while those with laws on consumer protection online increased from 40% to 41%.
It is said that while many developing countries (79%), including LDCs (70%), have adopted laws on cybercrime, fewer than half of the LDCs have legislation on privacy. Although countries have made significant progress in adopting cyberlaws, especially those on data protection, many of them need better capacity to effectively enforce the laws. By the end of 2021, 71% of countries had adopted such legislation, up from 55% in 2015.
UNCTAD has urged governments to streamline laws related to data protection, cybercrime laws and consumer protection to align them with regional and international minimum standards to ensure cross-border coordination.
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