A year ago: EU plans Internet Charter, but hits US flak

Ira Magaziner should change his name to Weber

The European Union's pious plans to further global Internet co-operation have bumped into harsh reality, as US presidential Internet adviser Ira Magaziner (old technology - he should change his name to Weber) said the US would fight the international application of the EU's privacy directive. The stuff that is winding Ira up is right along Global Village Street. Among other things the directive attempts to restrict the nature and extent of data held on EU citizens, and to forbid the transfer of this data to US and international companies. So as we understand it, The Register's representatives in Brussels want to stop our local friends at Intel from compiling secret files on us and then sending them over to Andy Grove. Magaziner accuses the EU of extraterritoriality, which is one that usually (Helms-Burton) goes in the other direction. But it's obviously a matter that raises just the kinds of questions about how you legislate (or not) internationally post-Internet. Magaziner says he'll take it to the World Trade Organisation if the EU doesn't back off. EU industry commissioner meanwhile says that the EU's International Communications Charter had been warmly received by Ira Magaziner (or Republican News, as they call him in Belfast), but warmth comes in degrees. The Charter is allegedly intended to increase international co-ordination and remove obstacles to the electronic market, but also is seen by the EU as (uh oh ) providing a blueprint for how you deal with data protection, copyright, taxation, consumer protection You'll note that elsewhere in this issue Bill Gates is supporting the ideas behind the Charter but is as yet unable to comment on the detail. It shouldn't be too difficult for you to figure out how wise this is. ®

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