The historic European Union Directive on Data Protection will take effect in October 1998. A key provision will prohibit transfer of personal information from Europe to other countries if they lack "adequate" protection of privacy. If enforced as written, the Directive could create enormous obstacles to commerce between Europe and other countries, such as the United States, that do not have comprehensive privacy statutes. In this book, Peter Swire and Robert Litan provide the first detailed analysis of the sector-by-sector effects of the Directive. They examine such topics as the text of the Directive, the tension between privacy laws and modern information technologies, issues affecting a wide range of businesses and other organizations, effects on the financial services sector, and effects on other prominent sectors with large transborder data flows. In light of the many and significant effects of the Directive as written, the book concludes with detailed policy recommendations on how to avoid a coming trade war with Europe. The book will be of interest to the wide range of individuals and organizations affected by the important new European privacy laws. More generally, the privacy clash discussed in the book will prove a major precedent for how electronic commerce and world data flows will be governed in the Internet Age.
Peter P. Swire is associate professor of law at Ohio State University, Ohio, USA, College of Law. Robert E. Litan is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and vice president for research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation, Missouri, USA. Among his many books is Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity (Yale University Press, 2007), written with William J. Baumol and Carl J. Schramm.