EU minister calls for Internet privacy

Oct. 7, 2009 at 8:56 AM
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BRUSSELS, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- An explosion of online technologies contains real threats to privacy rights, the European Commission's Internet chief has warned.

EU Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding said during a debate in Brussels on the future of the Internet that minors are putting a lot of personal information online on social networking Web sites such as Facebook, and legislation may be needed to force the sites to keep children's profiles private, the EUobserver reported.

"Privacy must, in my view, be a high priority for social networking providers and for their users," Reding said. "I firmly believe that at least the profiles of minors must be private by default and unavailable to Internet search engines."

The EUobserver said Reding made the comments Monday during a European Parliament meeting organized by Icomp, an industry initiative backed by the U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp. to address the online marketplace.

"The European Commission has already called on social networking sites to deal with minors' profiles carefully, by means of self-regulation," she said. "I am ready to follow this up with new rules if I have to."

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