U.S. Internet companies may be hampered by a multiplicity of data protection rules in Europe and beyond that are “potential barriers to the free flow of information,” a U.S. official said. Daniel Weitzner, an Internet policy official in the U.S. Commerce Department, said regulators don’t always recognize companies’ efforts to set basic data protection standards that are adequate to stem abuses of privacy. “It’s awfully difficult to adapt privacy practices for a hundred or more different” jurisdictions, Weitzner told reporters in Brussels the day after a meeting with Viviane Reding, the European Union’s justice commissioner. “That is a substantial barrier today.” Planned changes to data protection rules in both regions “seem to be quite convergent,” she said. “Our cooperation has a good chance to be the first step towards the development and promotion of international legal standards,” Reding said.