As the European Union moves to tighten up data protection while the US Congress has been rowing back on it, where does the rest of the world stand on internet privacy and consumer protection?

The United Nations should soon be able to supply some details. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has announced the development of a World Consumer Protection Map.

UNCTAD says its aim in developing this new tool is to provide relevant information about consumer protection worldwide and to enable better coordination channels between Consumer Protection Agencies globally.

The sharing of knowledge will create a better understanding of the different laws and legal frameworks in different jurisdictions, it says.

“The World Consumer Protection Map is an interactive and easily accessible online tool that will provide an updated and comprehensive picture of consumer protection. It will also identify trends and benchmarks for global consumer protection as well highlight challenges that need to be addressed,” UNCTAD stated.

“The map will allow consumer protection officials around the World to better coordinate and compare their efforts. This is especially important when dealing with a consumer protection breach, like a global hack of consumer data, which does not stop at borders or oceans,” said Arnau Izaguerri, Associate Legal Officer.

The announcement was made at the second session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on Consumer Protection Law and Policy in Geneva last week.

The Group was established under the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP). It monitors the application and implementation of the guidelines, provides a forum for consultations, produces research and studies, provides technical assistance and undertakes voluntary peer reviews.

The IGE has reviewed the Consumer Protection Online Questionnaire that has been developed by UNCTAD to help populate the World Consumer Protection Map.

“To protect consumers in this increasingly connected and digital world, it is essential to first have a clear view and understanding of the existing legal frameworks. The World Consumer Protection Map is the answer to this need,” said William Taborda, Information Systems Officer at UNCTAD.