EU ponders new data protection laws

Jan. 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM

BRUSSELS, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- European Union officials say companies that violate data protection laws being proposed could be fined up to 2 percent of their global annual income.

The European Commission included the suggestion as part of its proposed new directive and regulations regarding data protection and online user privacy, the BBC reported Wednesday.

The proposed new rules include a "right to be forgotten" for users wishing to have personal data deleted and an obligation for organizations to report data breaches "as soon as possible."

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said it was vital for EU citizens, particularly teenagers, to be in control of their online identities.

"My proposals will help build trust in online services because people will be better informed about their rights and more in control of their information," she said.

Simplifying the current patchwork of data protection rules passed in 1995 could save businesses a total of $3 billion a year, she said.

However, organizations which break the rules would face stiff financial penalties, she said.

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