Saturday, December 19, 2015

Europe Approves Tough New Data Protection Rules

Mark Zuckerberg, chief of Facebook, which is facing 
investigations into data protection violations in five 
European countries. Reuters
European officials approved long-awaited data protection regulations on Tuesday, the latest effort in the region to give people a greater say over how their digital information is collected and managed.
The changes, expected to go into effect by early 2017, would put into law across the 28-member European Union some policies now enforced after court rulings or in specific countries only. They are intended to bolster Europeans’ privacy rights, which are viewed by the bloc as on a par with freedom of expression.
“These new Pan-European rules are good for citizens and good for businesses,” Vera Jourova, the European justice commissioner, said in a statement on Tuesday. They “will profit from clear rules that are fit for the digital age.”
The new rules were approved at a meeting of representatives from the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union; the European Parliament; and member states. The officials had been meeting regularly since the summer to reach a compromise, though they often differed on how far Europe’s privacy rules should go in capping companies’ access to people’s online information.
Europe’s national governments and the European Parliament are widely expected to back the proposals later this week, support that is necessary for the rules to go in effect.
Among the new policies approved on Tuesday:
■ Allowing national watchdogs to issue fines, potentially totaling the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars, if companies misuse people’s online data, including obtaining information without people’s consent.
■ Enshrining the so-called right to be forgotten into European law, giving people in the region the right to ask that companies remove data about them that is either no longer relevant or out of date.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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