Google called Friday for new international privacy standards. The company's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, said in a U.N. speech that international privacy laws have become too fragmented and that an international body should create a standard that countries could adopt and customize, The Washington Post reports. Kind of like Microsoft and XML.
"The ultimate goal should be to create minimum standards of privacy protection that meet the expectations and demands of consumers, businesses and governments," Fleischer said, according to a transcript of the speech provided by Google.
Even as Google' purchase of DoubleClick is scrutinized by US and EU antitrust agencies, Fleischer said neither the US nor EU models work.
Fleischer criticized the U.S. privacy law model as being "too complex and too much of a patchwork," because different laws apply to different industries and vary by state. He called the European Union model "too bureaucratic and inflexible."
Fleischer instead advocated something closer to the privacy framework developed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which Fleischer said "balances very carefully information privacy with business needs and commercial interests."
The Electronic Privacy Information Center panned Fleischer's performance.
"Google, under investigation for violating global privacy standards, is calling for international privacy standards. It's somewhat like someone being caught for speeding saying there should be a public policy to regulate speeding," said Marc Rotenberg, EPIC's executive director.
"The APEC guidelines are far below what Google would be expected to do in Europe or the United States," Rotenberg said. They "don't address the critical problem of limiting data collection, which is the key point in the dispute over Google's business practices."
Privacy groups generally favor the rules developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which generally focus on the violation of privacy as a right rather than a demonstration of harm caused by the violation, the Post said.