In 1968, the Council of Europe began to study the effects of technology on human rights, recognizing the new threats posed by computer technology that could link and transmit in ways not widely available before. In 1969 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) began to examine the implications of personal information leaving the country. All this led the council to recommend that policy be developed to protect personal data held by both the private and public sectors, leading to Convention 108. In 1981, Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention 108) was introduced. One of the first privacy laws ever enacted was the Swedish Data Act in 1973, followed by the West German Data Protection Act in 1977 and the French Law on Informatics, Data Banks and Freedoms in 1978.
In Canada, a Privacy Commissioner of Canada was established under the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977. In 1982, the appointment of a Privacy Commissioner was part of the new Privacy Act. Canada signed the OECD guidelines in 1984.