Privacy Advisor

UK Information Commissioner Calls for Global Harmonization of Privacy Laws

April 1, 2007

"We must all do global privacy better. Information flows do not recognize international boundaries. … We can no longer go on with different privacy controls in different parts of the world. Inconsistencies cause unnecessary confusion and complexity, increased costs and reduced consumer trust and confidence. Privacy has shot up the agenda everywhere and businesses and governments now accept that privacy safeguards for citizens are needed wherever the information goes. Greater consistency - especially between U.S. and EU approaches - will reduce barriers to transferring data and give people better assurances that their personal information is protected wherever it goes.

"Doing global privacy better means an active commitment to harmonization. Just as it is important that U.S. privacy laws are not discussed in isolation from the rest of the world, so too must the European Union be ready to consider changes. There may be scope for less bureaucracy, less emphasis on prior authorization and a more concrete focus on preventing real harm."

-    Richard Thomas, UK Information Commissioner, as delivered to Summit attendees