Global Gotchas

How to avoid hidden traps in international laws.

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India is in the process of amending its laws to deal with such crimes, and many outsourcing providers have improved their security, Sutin says. Still, companies that want to take legal action in India, China and elsewhere will find limited police resources and "a very long, very frustrating process" in courts, he says.

In making deals, CIOs need to list "technological requirements to minimize the problem," Sutin says. They should also look for outsourcing providers with U.S. offices, thereby giving them legal resources in U.S. courts should problems arise.

7. Fractured Worldview

IT leaders need to keep in mind that laws and regulations vary from country to country -- even in unified areas such as the European Union.

"There's a tendency to think that Europe is a region and it only has one law. But it isn't. It's much more a series of individual country laws with some codification. That really surprises even lawyers in the States," says Clive Davies, a London-based partner at law firm Olswang.

This has led to fractured approaches that continually need adjusting from country to country. A typical CIO will implement a system that meets the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S. and then broaden his view to similar requirements elsewhere, tweaking the system to meet local laws.

"There's a tendency if you have a U.S.-based multinational company to look at the States and see how that goes, and then they'll look at Europe and see how that goes, and then we'll look at the Far East," Davies says. "But it would be better for organizations to do these things on a global basis versus a regional basis."

See the complete special report on globalization.

Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer in Waltham, Mass. Contact her at

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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