Sunday, January 29, 2012
Breach of new EU online data rules to carry high fines
Europe proposed strict new data privacy rules on Wednesday, putting greater responsibility on companies such as Facebook to protect users' information, and threatening those who breach the code with hefty fines. But the move, which legislators say is designed to better defend children against predators, has rattled major technology and Internet-based companies, with executives concerned the legislation will be almost impossible to implement in full or will do serious damage to their business models.
The proposals, which are expected to become law by the end of 2013 if approved by all 27 EU member states and the European Parliament, were drawn up after a two-year examination of shifting Internet use and the behavior of consumers using sites such as Yahoo!, Google and Facebook. Viviane Reding, the European commissioner in charge of data privacy, said the proposed laws were necessary if consumers' data and privacy were to be better protected in the modern age.
A breach of the rules could mean fines of up to two percent of a company's annual turnover, which in the case of Google could mean up to USD 800m.