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Search site Google has called on governments and business to agree a basic set of global privacy rules.
Without global standards the health of the internet was at risk, the firm's privacy chief Peter Fleischer told a UN agency conference in Strasbourg.
He said that the rise of the net meant vast amounts of personal data was now regularly shipped around the globe.
That information often passed through countries with insufficient or no data protection laws, he said.
Google Wants Global Privacy Laws [news.bbc.co.uk]