The European Union (E.U.) is expected to approve tougher data protection rules on Tuesday. It is the latest effort to help protect the public in member states, so they can say how information is collected and managed online.
If the approval happens, the changes will occur from 2017. All 28-member states will have to enforce the policy. The aim is to protect the privacy rights of individuals, which has been a growing concern. The United Kingdom may try to block the bill, as it attempts to lessen restrictions with the view that it is protecting public safety. While privacy advocates will welcome the move, there are some who say it could affect freedom of expression. The E.U. has previously been accused of treading too much on the side of privacy.
This is certainly not the first time the E.U. has ruled in favor of privacy for its individuals. In October, the EU Court of Justice ruled that a legal agreement between Europe and the United States was invalid. The agreement allowed personal data to move from Europe into America for processing, and was used by a number of large companies including Apple, Microsoft and Google. It was a 15-year-old law called Safe Harbour.
The E.U. also introduced the “Right to be Forgotten” law, which caused debate around the world. Google had to introduce a web form to allow people in Europe the ability to request search results be removed. This would not remove the information, but make it harder for people to find that information. The E.U. said that it would only happen where the information was not detrimental to the public, but there were concerns that doctors reported for malpractice or who had received negative reviews and pedophiles would be able to have their information removed from Google searches.
The new regulations that are being considered on Tuesday could see U.S. firms fined billions of dollars. The firms will need to warn European users how information is used, along with all the information that is being used. Consent will need to be gained before using the information in this way. European users will also have the right to request companies update any outdated or irrelevant information.
The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/16/technology/eu-data-privacy.html
New Scientist: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28294-eu-ruling-means-facebook-and-google-cant-send-data-to-the-us/
The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/aug/20/google-ordered-to-remove-links-to-stories-about-right-to-be-forgotten-removals
USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/web-to-watch/tech-gaming/2015/12/14/eu-european-union-privacy-directive-google-facebook/77314554/
Images from CBROnline.com Twitter Feed (https://twitter.com/cbronline/status/676440709826805762)
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