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European Union mulls new rules on data privacy aimed at U.S.

Oct. 17, 2013 at 8:02 PM   |   Comments

BRUSSELS, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The European Union says it is close to finalizing new rules aimed at curbing questionable transfers of data from EU countries to the Unites States.

The new rules are considered to be a reaction to the Edward Snowden disclosures of U.S. and British mass surveillance of digital communications.

The new rules would make it harder for U.S. Internet servers and social media providers to transfer European data to third countries, subject them to EU rather than American laws, and authorize severe fines possibly running into the billions for non-compliance, Britain's The Guardian reported Thursday.

"As parliamentarians, as politicians, as governments we have lost control over our intelligence services," said Jan Philipp Albrecht, the German Greens member of the European Parliament who is pushing the data protection regulations.

Data privacy in the European Union is currently under the authority of 28 national governments with varying standards that are easily circumvented by big U.S. Silicon Valley companies, EU regulators said in arguing for the new EU-wide rules.

"All those U.S. companies that do dominate the tech market and the Internet want to have access to our goldmine, the internal [European] market with over 500 million potential customers," Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for justice, said. "If they want to access it, they will have to apply our rules."

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