Controversy has erupted in the US over the European Union?s forthcoming directive on data privacy.
Under the directive, which comes into force on 25 October, European companies will be prohibited from exchanging data with firms based in countries whose laws do not adequately protect the online privacy of consumers. In effect, that would prevent them from swapping information with US firms.
It is this that has sparked concern at the Internet World show in New York where opponents have spoken out against the measure saying it could have devastating effect on US firms that do business with Europe.
However, US Commerce Secretary William Daley said the US is making progress in talks with the EU as it is eager to avoid a conflict over the protection of online privacy.
He also played down the looming deadline by stressing that it is not a cut-off date, but instead merely the beginning of a long process. From the date EU members will begin to translate the directive into national law. The directive harmonises the different privacy laws throughout the EU and compels the various member states to respect the same levels of data privacy.
Government ministers from around the world, including the UK?s telecoms minister Barbara Roche, are currently meeting in Ottowa, Canada to approve declarations on authentication, consumer protection and privacy for ecommerce and will endorse a framework of principles for taxation.
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