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EU's Reding calls for better data-protection rules

23 июня 2010

Europe needs to put individuals at the heart of its data-protection laws to ensure that personal data remain safe in the digital world, the European Commissioner for Justice and Fundamental Rights Viviane Reding said in a speech Tuesday.

Until now, European Union data-protection rules have been sufficient to protect individual's privacy, but with the rapid growth of social-networking sites,"we are facing a whole new way of creating and using data," Reding said."Entrepreneurs start social networking sites in their college dorm rooms. Web surfers generate their own content and share it by clicking a mouse," she said.

The private data that users share online is growing to be a big business. Online operators create user profiles based on the personal information, to better target consumers with online advertising. There are estimates that this market will grow to be valued at over EUR3 billion in 2012, eight times as much as in 2007, Reding said.

The individual should be at the heart of managing how their personal data are used online, which "requires a shift of focus for the policy makers," Reding added.

One such focus should be in giving internet users the control over correcting and deleting all the information they have put online. There should be "a right to be forgotten," Reding said.

Individuals should also be able to move their data from one place to another, when they want to change service providers. Data portability would make it easier for consumers to switch between different online networks and boost online competition.

Advertisers should also always have the user's consent for utilizing the data.

Reding also said she would be looking at smoothing online commerce across the 27 nation block, removing legal barriers to trading.

To facilitate online shopping, consumers need to feel secure in their rights, and it is crucial that the EU has unified consumer rights, Reding said. In areas where national contract law intercepts the harmonization of consumer rights the commissioner is willing to look for complementary tools.

As part of her plans Reding intends to launch a public consultation on various longer-term possibilities for consumer protection, this summer.

These will include an "optional European contract law regime" based on a high level of consumer protection, she added.

Источник: Total Telecom

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