Search site Google has called on governments and business to agree a basic set of global privacy rules. Without global standards the health of the internet was at risk, the firm's privacy chief Peter Fleischer told a UN agency conference in Strasbourg. He said that the rise of the net meant vast amounts of personal data was now regularly shipped around the globe. That information often passed through countries with insufficient or no data protection laws, he said.
"Every time a person uses a credit card their information may cross six or seven national boundaries," Mr Fleischer said before the event. Three quarters of countries have no privacy rules at all and among those that do, many were largely adopted before the rise of the internet, he said. Europe, for example, has strict privacy regulations, but these rules were set out in 1995, largely before the rise of the commercial internet, he said. In contrast, the United States has no country-wide privacy laws, instead leaving them to individual states or even industries to set up.