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Symposium 2012

Solution for Optimizing Information Use through the Internet and Social Media

The Challenge

Unprecedented recent progress in information and communication technologies (ICTs) is enabling people and organizations to overcome personal and regional restrictions on information acquisition. The I ...

Unprecedented recent progress in information and communication technologies (ICTs) is enabling people and organizations to overcome personal and regional restrictions on information acquisition. The Internet and social media are particularly important for facilitating access to an unparalleled wealth of information, as well as providing opportunities for new innovative activities and social interactions.

Specify user-oriented global standards for online data protection and privacy.

ICTs facilitate the globalization that enables people and organizations to interact with others more easily than before, going beyond the limitations of national boundaries. As a result, people and organizations' online behavior have a much broader impact on others, which also goes beyond national boundaries. The fact that different countries still pursue their own regulatory framework for dealing with data protection and privacy issues of their own citizens may not be in line with the globalized nature of the digital world.

Data protection and privacy legislation varies greatly around the world— from countries with highly restrictive rules to those with little or no protection. It will always be important to recognize different cultural attitudes to privacy and data protection and globally agreed legislation is impractical. But it is feasible to establish a common set of minimum standards that would ensure that citizens and consumers are protected wherever they are and wherever the website they are using is located.

To avoid severe sanctions, people and organizations may prefer operational locations where the online protection regulations are the least strict. In the end, no one can be really protected by law, even if some Internet users may live in a country with a de jure better established national regulatory framework.

There are great benefits from new technologies such as cloud computing and the “Internet of things.” But the development and widespread use of such technologies may be hampered by artificial barriers constructed by differences in data protection policies. By establishing global minimum standards or a global regulatory framework, every website, business, government and individual will have a basic guideline to which to adhere to engender trust and improved information use.

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