Privacy is still key to e-commerce growth

Bill Goodwin

Bill Goodwin

International agreements that will guarantee the free flow of information between countries are essential to encourage the growth of e-commerce, according to a leading security expert.

The world's biggest Internet users, North America, Japan and the UK, have different laws on privacy, which are restricting global e-commerce, said Peter Yapp, IT security expert at Control Risks Group.

"The trick is to get the balance right between privacy and free flow of information. Too much anonymity and the growth of e-commerce will be held back by an explosion of fraud," said Yapp, speaking at the Asian Wall Street Journal CEO Technology Summit in Hong Kong.

Strengthening global privacy laws will eliminate the need for the restrictions on the export of personal data from Europe to the US, imposed by the EU privacy directive, said Yapp.

The last attempt at an agreement fell apart in July. This means that companies such as Amazon, which was accused last week of sending the personal data of UK customers to the US, have privacy policies that do not apply to customers in Europe, said Yapp.

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