01 July 1998

ROBERT WIENTZEN, chief executive officer of the DMA (USA), chose a lecture tour of Australia as his pulpit to denounce the European Commission’s data and privacy directives. These prohibit the transfer of personal data from within the EU to non-member states unless data protection standards in those countries meet the EC’s own criteria. Neither the US nor Australia have data protection legislation and Wientzen is irked that the EU refuses to toe the laissez-faire consumer privacy line of the land of the free-for-all. 'We think the directives are entirely unnecessary and could hurt European businesses badly', he thundered in best Bible-belt tradition. Europeans can’t afford to restrict trade like this and many businesses are telling their own governments that they have gone an issue too far.' Wientzen omitted to name or quantify the 'many businesses' he claims feel thus strongly.