EU Reveals New Strategy to Improve Online Privacy

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Proposal would unify EU data protection laws and reduce business compliance costs.

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Internet users in Europe may soon have more control over their personal data if the European Commission adopts proposed reforms designed to enhance online privacy and reduce administrative burdens for businesses.

The proposed reforms would require websites to obtain explicit consent from users before processing data.  The reforms would provide users with rights over their personal data, including the right to access it, transfer it, and request its deletion.

The proposed reforms aim to reduce business costs by creating a single set of data protection laws across the European Union.  In addition, instead of requiring businesses to notify regulators of all data protection activities, the proposed reforms would simply require disclosure “of serious data breaches as soon as possible.”

The proposed reforms would also authorize national data protection agencies to increase monetary penalties for violating EU data protection laws.

In support of its proposals, the EC cited a recent Eurobarometer study that found that a vast majority of Europeans are worried about the potential misuse of their online data.

The EC adopted its existing data protection rules in the early 1990s when, according to EC Vice President Viviane Reding, only 1% of telecommunications information was transmitted via the internet.