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Brussels has invited a senior Google lawyer and lobbyist to join a new quango to help it decide the future of European data protection legislation.

"The aim of the group is to identify issues and challenges raised by new technologies. We are not reviewing the main data protection laws at present, but this could be a first step," IDG reports European Commission spokesman Michele Cercone said.

The group held its first meeting yesterday. Google "global privacy counsel" Peter Fleischer will be joined by Intel "group counsel for eBusiness and privacy" David Hoffman, and some data protection lawyers.

Fleischer said he will use his place on the quango to push for reform to data protection enforcement. A company accused of privacy violations across the EU should only have to deal with one national regulator, he said.

"It worked when data was stored on paper, but with the internet that concept is obsolete because data travels around the world and is commonly stored in many different locations at once. There is a strong need for data protection laws to take the new technology into consideration," the man from Google said.

The Google and Intel lawyers were asked to join the quango in a private capacity, rather than as representatives of their companies, Cercone said, as a pig soared 10,000 feet overhead. ®

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