The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has unveiled model contract clauses to prevent the disruption of cross-border ecommerce by European Union (EU) privacy legislation.
The ICC, a Geneva-based business group which aims to promote international trade, says the clauses - based on the experience of international companies - are a cost-effective way of fulfilling legal obligations under the EU privacy directive.
Under the terms of the directive and the new Data Protection Act, companies will be barred from exporting personal data to countries such as the US, which do not have the same high levels of privacy protection as the EU.
The ICC's ecommerce expert, Christian Van der Valk, said: ?Once incorporated in a contract, the clauses become fully enforceable for the contracted parties. We are convinced they offer a solution that could avert any serious interruption of transatlantic data flows.?
The ICC will ask the European Commission to endorse the clauses as soon as possible. Van der Valk added: ?The Internet will never fulfil its promise if every country or region tries to impose its own laws unilaterally.?
A spokesman for the UK Data Protection Registrar said the ICC had kept it informed on work on the clauses, and said the registrar ?would not exclude contract terms as a mechanism? for guaranteeing data was exported with adequate protection.
Steve Ranger is a reporter on Computing
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