International and Foreign Cyberspace Law Research Guide

This guide covers resources on various aspects of cyberspace law, including Internet governance, electronic commerce, privacy, cyber crime, cyber warfare, and cyber terrorism.

IGO & NGO Resources on Data Security and Online Privacy

Table of Contents

International & Intergovernmental Organizations

The following international and intergovernmental organizations play an active role in the ongoing public policy debates over data security and online privacy.

Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is one of several regional organizations established in the aftermath of World War II. It is separate and distinct from the European Union and has a much larger membership than the E.U. The Council’s core mission is the protection of human rights, but it also works to promote democracy, the rule of law, and uniform standards. 

Most of the Council’s work is accomplished through the drafting of treaties, such as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (a.k.a. the European Convention on Human Rights) and the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Automatic Processing of Personal Data.

Council of Europe: Data Protection
Visit this gateway page to learn more about the Council of Europe’s ongoing work in the field of data protection, including background information about the Convention on Personal Data Processing and recent efforts to modernize the Convention. The portal also provides access to the following materials:

Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD)

The OECD provides a forum in which its 38 member countries can share data and develop solutions to common problems on matters of public policy, including data governance, privacy and digital security. In particular, the OECD has launched the following initiatives:

United Nations Global Pulse Initiative

U.N. Global Pulse was established by the U.N. Secretary-General to promote the use of big data analytics to achieve sustainable development and humanitarian goals. A core component of the initiative is the development of standards and best practices to ensure data privacy, including the following: 

Non-Governmental Organizations

The non-governmental organizations described below publish credible research and informed commentary on data security and privacy issues, much of which is freely accessible on their websites. Many also advocate for enhanced online data security and privacy protections.

  • Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)
    Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in London and Brussels, the CDT support laws, corporate policies, and technology tools that protect the privacy of Internet users. It also advocates for stronger legal controls on government surveillance. Visit the Insights Page to access CDT publications and commentary.
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
    The EFF was founded in 1990 to champion user privacy, free expression, and innovation through litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. See the Updates page to access white papers prepared by EFF researchers and to monitor the status of legal cases in which the EFF has filed amicus briefs. Also see the EFF’s Deep Links Blog for timely and informed commentary. 
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
    Established in 1994 to protect privacy, freedom of expression, and democratic values in the information age, EPIC produces policy research, conducts public education campaigns, and engages in legislative advocacy. It also files amicus briefs in cases involving open government and consumer privacy. Use EPIC’s Digital Library to search by keyword for publications, statements, press releases, congressional testimony, amicus briefs, and other documents. Use the filters on the left side of this page to limit by issue, topic, and content type before or after searching.
  • Privacy International
    This London-based NGO advocates for strong national, regional, and international laws that protect privacy, both online and offline. It also litigates to ensure that government surveillance is conducted in a manner that is consistent with the rule of law. The Campaigns page includes briefings, investigations, reports, and case studies involving the use of personal data; the Legal Actions page includes information about pending litigation and links to court documents.
  • RAND Corporation
    This independent think tank—known for the quality and rigor of its work product—is a good source for credible research and informed commentary on a wide range of topics. Many of its research reports are available for download in PDF format. Visit its Information Security page to browse for reports on this topic or use the Advanced Search Template to search by keyword.