We Europeans are so preoccupied by our concerns over data protection and social networks that we may not be fully aware of the interest generated by our debate in quarters far removed from our little patch of the planet. But Datonomy has noticed that our debate is being closely followed … in Ethiopia, a jurisdiction in which internet penetration stands at a modest 0.4% of the population.

Last week’s Ethiopian Review carries an article entitled “EU Wants Tighter Privacy on Social Networks”, posted by Desta Bishu. The article reviews the efforts (or the lack of them) by Facebook and MySpace to protect user privacy, as well as current compliance guidelines and their applicability to systems for holding and transmitting UGC. The moral of the story is simple: the better the quality of our debate, and the better the quality of the decision-making that results from it, the more likely we will be to influence policy formulation in other jurisdictions and, with luck, the adoption of similar legal and regulatory norms. Given the nature of information and the increasing need to take it across borders, common and mutually recognised standards must surely be desirable — and this process starts with us.

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