By Emir Pohan

Navigating Confidentiality and Data Privacy Clauses in Indonesia: Differences and Practical Implications

25 April 2024

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  1. Introduction

    Confidentiality and data privacy have emerged as paramount concerns in the digital age, as the exchange and storage of sensitive information have become integral facets of modern business transactions. In this context, the inclusion of robust confidentiality and data privacy clauses in contracts serves as a crucial safeguard for both parties involved. These clauses play a pivotal role in safeguarding sensitive information shared between parties by delineating the parameters of permissible use, disclosure, and protection of confidential data, thereby establishing clear expectations and obligations and mitigating the risk of unauthorized access or exploitation. Moreover, in the event of disputes or breaches, well-crafted clauses provide a legal framework for recourse and enforcement, fostering trust and accountability in business relationships.

    Whilst confidentiality is mostly governed contractually, the legal landscape governing data privacy is multifaceted and continually evolving, with international, national, and sector-specific regulations imposing varying obligations on organizations regarding the collection, processing, and transfer of personal data. From the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in the European Union, to Law No. 27 of 2022 on the Protection of Personal Data (“Data Privacy Law”) in Indonesia, regulatory frameworks aim to balance innovation and data-driven advancements with individuals' fundamental right to privacy. Understanding these legal requirements is imperative for businesses to ensure compliance and mitigate legal risks.

    In light of the complex legal and regulatory landscape, this article seeks to elucidate the distinctions between confidentiality and data privacy clauses within contractual agreements. Since, while often used interchangeably, these clauses serve distinct purposes and entail different obligations and liabilities for parties involved, especially in an era marked by rapid technological innovation and heightened privacy concerns.

  2. Understanding Confidentiality Clause

    Confidentiality clauses, constituting the next focal point of this discussion, serve as essential tools in contractual agreements aimed at safeguarding sensitive information. These clauses establish the framework for protecting proprietary knowledge, trade secrets, and other confidential data shared between parties. Central to their effectiveness is the clear definition and scope they provide regarding what constitutes confidential information and the limitations on its use and disclosure.

    The key elements of confidentiality clauses include provisions specifying the duration of confidentiality obligations, the permitted recipients of confidential information, and any exceptions or limitations on confidentiality. Additionally, these clauses may address the procedures for handling and storing confidential information, as well as the obligations of parties upon termination or expiration of the contract.

  3. Unpacking the Data Privacy Clause

    In Indonesia, the legal landscape surrounding data privacy has undergone a significant shift with the enactment of the Data Privacy Law specifically addressing data privacy concerns. However, it's imperative to note that compliance doesn't solely rely on this latest legislation; rather, it necessitates adherence to prior regulations outlined in Law No. 11 of 2020 on Electronic Information, Transactions (UU ITE) and Government Regulation No. 71 of 2019 on the Implementation of Electronic Systems and Transactions, and Minister of Communication and Informatics No. 20 of 2016 on Personal Data Protection in Electronic Systems provided they align with the principles of the new Data Privacy Law. Despite the absence of implementation regulations, prudent contractual practices recommend incorporating internationally recognized standards such as those stipulated in GDPR to ensure comprehensive data protection measures are in place. This approach not only facilitates compliance but also fosters a robust framework for safeguarding personal data in line with global best practices. Furthermore, one also must ensure that General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standard provisions are accommodated in the agreement if it involves data of European Union citizens and residents.

    Data privacy clauses in Indonesian contracts typically encompass a range of provisions aimed at protecting personal data and ensuring its lawful and responsible handling. Key components of these clauses may include definitions of personal data and sensitive information, limitations on data collection and processing purposes, consent requirements for data use and disclosure, safeguards for data security and confidentiality, procedures for data access, correction, and deletion, and mechanisms for addressing data breaches and non-compliance. Moreover, data privacy clauses may delineate the roles and responsibilities of parties in complying with applicable data protection regulations and standards, thereby establishing clear expectations and obligations for all stakeholders involved.

  4. Differentiating Confidentiality and Data Privacy Clauses

    Confidentiality clauses and data privacy clauses, while both aimed at protecting sensitive information, serve distinct purposes and operate within different scopes. Confidentiality clauses primarily focus on safeguarding proprietary information and confidential information shared between parties in contractual relationships and are governed by contract law. In contrast, data privacy clauses are concerned with the protection of individuals' personal data and privacy rights, and are subject to comprehensive data protection laws and regulations, such as the GDPR, and Indonesia's Data Privacy Law. Compliance with these laws entails adherence to specific principles and requirements concerning data processing, transparency, consent, security, and individual rights, necessitating a more comprehensive and nuanced approach to drafting and enforcement.

    Despite their distinct purposes and legal frameworks, confidentiality clauses and data privacy clauses may overlap in certain areas, giving rise to potential conflicts or ambiguities in contractual agreements. For example, contractual provisions governing the disclosure and handling of confidential information may intersect with data privacy requirements concerning the processing and protection of personal data. Moreover, conflicts may arise when contractual obligations under confidentiality clauses conflict with legal obligations imposed by data protection laws, such as obligations to disclose personal data in response to legal or regulatory requirements. Addressing these potential conflicts requires careful consideration and harmonization of contractual obligations with legal requirements, ensuring that confidentiality and data privacy clauses are aligned and complementary rather than contradictory.

  5. Practical Approaches and Drafting Tips

    A key consideration in drafting confidentiality and data privacy clauses is tailoring them to the specific needs and risks of the business and its industry sector. By understanding the unique business context and risk landscape, organizations can tailor confidentiality and data privacy clauses to address specific concerns, such as intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance, or the safeguarding of customer data. Moreover, businesses should consider the scalability of these clauses to accommodate future growth and changes in business operations, ensuring their ongoing relevance and effectiveness in mitigating emerging risks.

    Drafting confidentiality and data privacy clauses with clarity and precision is essential to enhance their enforceability and effectiveness in practice. To achieve this, clauses should clearly define key terms and concepts, such as confidential information, personal data, and permitted uses and disclosures, to avoid ambiguity and interpretation issues. Moreover, clauses should incorporate specific obligations and responsibilities for each party, including measures for data security, confidentiality, and breach notification, to establish clear expectations and accountability.

  6. Conclusion

    In conclusion, the effective incorporation of confidentiality and data privacy clauses in contractual agreements is essential for businesses to navigate the complexities of the modern digital landscape while upholding legal obligations and protecting sensitive information. By tailoring clauses to specific business needs and risks, organizations can proactively mitigate potential threats to confidentiality and privacy, ensuring the integrity and security of proprietary data and personal information. Ultimately, the successful implementation of confidentiality and data privacy clauses enables businesses to navigate contractual obligations with confidence, safeguarding their interests and preserving trust and integrity in an era marked by rapid technological innovation and evolving privacy concerns. However, while this article strongly recommends crafting a tailored clauses, it is essential to ensure that such clauses do not overly restrict the parties. There must be room to accommodate future changes and adapt to evolving legal requirements.


By: Emir Pohan and Gevin Garcia


This material is prepared for general information purposes only. It is not intended to give legal or any other professional advice, opinion or recommendation and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. Specific legal advice should be sought before taking any action based on the contents in this material. Please contact us if you need any assistance regarding this matter.

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Emir Pohan


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