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EU to harmonize data protection laws

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 29 Nov 2011 10:17 User comments (3)

EU to harmonize data protection laws All member states to harmonize laws related to data protection.
The European Commission (EC) is seeking bloc-wide reform of data protection to update laws that were put in place by governments long before services like Facebook or Twitter were around.

European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, said that services such as social networks need to be far more open about how they operate. She proposes that businesses (including ISPs) be endowed with new responsibilities to inform their users about data collection, what is being collected, what for, how, and so forth.

"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."

Reding is referring to the practice of using consumers' personal data in order to attract advertisers. A Eurobarometer survey conducted in the summer found that three quarters of Europeans questioned are concerned about how companies use private information they have stored about them.

Existing laws in the EU date back to 1995, which dealt with quite a different environment than of today. Draft legislation to update laws surrounding data protection is expected next year, but could take up to eighteen months to be approved by EU member states.

European national governments have differences where privacy issues are concerned, with France and Germany supporting stronger protections for citizens' privacy, and Britain taking a more market-friendly approach. Those differences would need to be ironed out for any pan-European solution to be adopted.

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3 user comments

129.11.2011 13:47

There they go using words indiscriminately again, in some kind of attempt to place them on an even higher elitist plateau than they already seem to think they exist... Harmonize!?! Harmonize my scaly old ass, "update" to the 21st century. Sure it has one less syllable & doesn't seem to have quite the inclusive, warm fuzzy that a lacking, cold, teetless, low in the poles, who is probably going to 'step in it' organization should have done some 20 years ago. Way to step up to the plate guys. Glad to see you're earning that well UN-deserved paycheck.

Meanwhile corporations have been selling & buying our personal information like 8 year olds years trading Pokemon cards, 20 years before the internet was the staple diet... LONG before this profound statement decided to make a holiday appearance. Do we get a pink slip in our stocking too?

If you happen to see an envelope float from behind you, between your legs onto the floor...? I wouldn't bend over to pick it up & to read what's inside.


230.11.2011 1:48

Originally posted by LordRuss:
There they go using words indiscriminately again, in some kind of attempt to place them on an even higher elitist plateau than they already seem to think they exist... Harmonize!?! Harmonize my scaly old ass, "update" to the 21st century. Sure it has one less syllable & doesn't seem to have quite the inclusive, warm fuzzy that a lacking, cold, teetless, low in the poles, who is probably going to 'step in it' organization should have done some 20 years ago. Way to step up to the plate guys. Glad to see you're earning that well UN-deserved paycheck.

Meanwhile corporations have been selling & buying our personal information like 8 year olds years trading Pokemon cards, 20 years before the internet was the staple diet... LONG before this profound statement decided to make a holiday appearance. Do we get a pink slip in our stocking too?

If you happen to see an envelope float from behind you, between your legs onto the floor...? I wouldn't bend over to pick it up & to read what's inside.
Huh? So you wanted them to have data protection laws concerning how international digital services such as Facebook collect and use user information... 20 years ago?

Europe is not the only place behind on this issue, the U.S. has been debating these practices for years too. The European Union combined market consists of 27 member states... that's 27 national governments of varying political agendas. Even though all member states have a commissioner, and all have their Members of the European Parliant (MEP) elected by the people, that doesn't mean it makes it any easier at the European level to adopt bloc-wide initiatives. The reason they do so in the first place is because the European Union is a single market and therefore, all member states (through the framework of the EU) harmonize as much as they can on anything to do with trade, markets etc. In the U.S. its easier because there's a federal government to call the shots but the EU is not a federal government and not even close. Understanding how the EU institutions operate, how they are "staffed" so to speak, shows just how silly words such as "elites" or "eurocrats" actually are. They are simply easy targets for politicians in member states to blame for everything that goes wrong within their own borders.

31.12.2011 12:45

Originally posted by Dela:
Huh? So you wanted them to have data protection laws concerning how international digital services such as Facebook collect and use user information... 20 years ago?

Either something is getting lost in translation or your misquoting me in lieu of getting topical...

I'm saying that personal data was being bought & sold without the public's knowledge decades before the grand masses even knew what it was all about. Once mass advertising became the staple diet of the corporate machine this form of buying & selling of personal information started taking place. It got to its fullest head of steam in the late 40s after WW2, once radio & magazines/comic books had deeply rooted their ways into family households.

So for your information, it got its START in the US! Yes, the Wankin Yanks, once again started the mess & passed on the screwing that keeps on giving. However, I'm not part of the problem, nor am I going to suffer any of the Caucasian guilt associated with it, but I would certainly like to be a part of the solution. Problem is, most don't like my solutions & out of those that don't, they're are too wussified to offer their own... I.e., not part of the solution to begin with anyway.

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