Data protection in the BRICS countries: Legal interoperability through innovative practices and convergence

This paper was published at International Data Privacy Law, you can access the official version here.


  • This paper stems from the research elaborated by the CyberBRICS project, which is the first attempt to analyse the digital policies in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
  • The paper focuses on the ongoing developments and increasing rapprochements of BRICS data protection frameworks and on the emergence of innovative elements in such frameworks.
  • While not renowned for their commitment to data privacy, all BRICS countries undertook major regulatory developments regarding data protection in recent years, elaborating new legislation, updating existing one or establishing new regulatory agencies, while also introducing innovative institutional and normative elements in their frameworks.
  • This article contextualises the BRICS and their efforts to cooperate on digital affairs, stresses a tendency towards convergence and “legal interoperability” of several aspects of their national data protection policies, and explores some examples of how BRICS countries are innovating data protection, emphasising that such innovations could inspire other countries.
  • Lastly, it argues that BRICS should seize the opportunity to further enhance their cooperation on data protection, as the increased convergence and compatibility of their data protection frameworks may be beneficial for both individuals and businesses, while implementing the recent BRICS commitment to enhance intra-BRICS cooperation on digital policies.