EU data protection reform to replace national laws

Nov 28, 2011

The European Union wants to replace a mishmash of national laws on data protection with one bloc-wide reform, updating laws put in place long before Facebook and other social networking sites even existed.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Monday that social networks must become more open about how they operate. Under her proposals, businesses - including Internet service providers - would have additional responsibilities, such as having to inform users of what data about them is being collected, for what purpose, and how it is stored.

EU regulators have been concerned about how commercial online services use customers' personal data to attract advertisers, saying they want to make sure that citizens' Internet privacy rights are respected.

"All social network service providers active in the EU must fully comply with EU data protection laws," Reding said. "Companies have a specific responsibility when personal data is their main economic asset,"

Existing EU laws date to 1995, long before Facebook and other existed. EU officials expect the to be ready early next year, and after that, it could take up to 18 months for the bill to become law.

The EU has to iron out differences between its members over privacy issues. Countries like France and Germany favor stronger protections for privacy, while Ireland, Britain and others prefer more market-friendly rules.

A Eurobarometer survey this summer found that 75 percent of Europeans are worried about how companies - including search engines like and social networks like or LinkedIn - use their private information.

The proposed reform also would help businesses by replacing the current patchwork of 27 national regulations, she said.

"They need ... to have a 'one-stop-shop' when it comes to data protection matters, one law and one single data protection authority," Reding told the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU. "I want to drastically cut red tape."

Explore further: Putin signs law seen as crimping social media

4.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

French official: Europe must defend privacy rights

Nov 18, 2011

(AP) -- Europe and the United States don't agree on how to strike the right balance between protecting privacy rights and battling the terror threat, the head of France's data protection watchdog said Friday.

EU, US discuss data protection deal

Apr 14, 2011

EU and US officials met in Hungary Thursday to try to move forward negotiations for a framework deal to protect the privacy of European citizens' data in future anti-terror operations.

EU to sue Britain over Internet privacy

Apr 14, 2009

(AP) -- The European Union started legal action against Britain on Tuesday for not applying EU data privacy rules that would restrict an Internet advertising tracker called Phorm from watching how users surf the Web.

Data violations unpunished in EU: rights agency

May 07, 2010

Data protection in many European countries suffers from a lack of funds, staff, independence and most importantly, a lack of sanctions for violators, the EU's rights agency reported Friday.

Recommended for you

Google made failed bid for Spotify

4 hours ago

Internet titan Google tried last year to buy streaming music service Spotify but backed off for reasons including a whopping price tag, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Thieves got into 1,000 StubHub accounts

4 hours ago

(AP)—Cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 StubHub customers' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events through the online ticket reseller, a law enforcement official and the company said.

Putin signs law seen as crimping social media

16 hours ago

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law requiring Internet companies to store all personal data of Russian users at data centres in Russia, a move which could chill criticism on foreign social networking ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jaydee
1 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2011
Data protection, under the umbrella of the EU and it's centralized standardization of laws is merely an excuse by which national sovereignty is being destroyed.....check off another agenda item on the globalist wishlist....Your data will not really be safer in the end.
Squirrel
1 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2011
Not just national sovereignty but basic democracy. These data protection laws whatever their merits have as much democratic mandate as the ill-fated Euro ie nil. How lucky are Americans, Canadians, Australians to be citizens of living democracies.