UN should set internet privacy rules: Google

London, September 14:

Google, the world’s leading search engine, is calling on the United Nations to help protect the privacy of web surfers around the world before the internet faces a crisis of confidence.

The dotcom company’s privacy chief, Peter Fleischer, will address aconference in Strasbourg of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) on Friday and ask for governments and businesses to agree on international privacy standards.

Fleischer said the rise of the internet meant that vast amounts of information were being shipped around the globe, often to countries with no official data protection.

Talking ahead of his conference address he said without a new set of rules to apply worldwide, surfers could lose confidence in the internet.

“Three quarters of the countries in the world have no privacy regimes at all and among those that do have laws, many of them were largely adopted before the rise of the internet,” he said.

“It’s said that every time you use a credit card, your details are passed through six different countries. We’re talking about this to help set the framework for the internet of the future.” Mr Fleischer will address the problem at the Unesco meeting, which is focused on the ethics of working in an information-based society. The dangerof failing to address privacy on a worldwide basis, he is expected to say, is that the internet’s progress will be undermined by the rise in online crimes.

“A lot of data is being outsourced from Europe and the US to India,for example, but India doesn’t have any privacy regulation. Europeans and Americans want to know their privacy is protected, and Indians themselves, as they come online, will also want these protections.”

The company said it had already held discussions with some European privacy regulators, including those in Spain and France, and is encouraging either the United Nations or the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to take an active role in promoting globalprivacy standards.

Fleischer said Google’s aim was to improve the benchmark of regulation around the world.