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Europe Leads in Pushing For Privacy of User Data

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European Union flag flying

Credit: OJEU Tenders Information

Europe is preparing to the lead the way in establishing new regulations for user data privacy. European Union (EU) justice commissioner Viviane Reding plans to propose extending EU-wide rules about privacy breaches to online banking, video games, shopping, and social media.

The EU rules mandate that Internet service providers and phone companies notify customers of any data breach without undue delay. "Any company operating in the EU market or any online product that is targeted at EU consumers should comply with EU rules," Reding says.

Georgetown University professor Abraham L. Newman says that Europe's focus on privacy could give companies an opportunity to restructure the way they manage policies globally, using European standards in their approach. Or, he says, they could devise policies to guarantee that data collected in Europe was suitably quarantined to adhere to the regulations, while restricting changes elsewhere.

Reding says that differences between Europe and the United States should not draw attention away from areas in which they agree, such as the Obama administration and Congress' efforts to pass a privacy bill of rights to curb the corporate collection or sharing of personal data without an Internet user's permission.

From The New York Times
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