data(1) EU data protection laws will carry high fines

Companies that breach the European Commission's new data protection laws could be fined up to two percent of their annual turnover, a heavy penalty designed to enhance user privacy online.

Companies that breach the European Commission's new data protection laws could be fined up to two percent of their annual turnover, a heavy penalty designed to enhance user privacy online.

 
European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, said that the protection of personal data is “a fundamental right for all Europeans” and that a strong legal framework needed to be adopted to protect this right.
 
The so-called “right to be forgotten” is a controversial proposal that will put considerable power into the hands of internet users, so much so that they can demand online companies to remove all of their data if they desire. While some services like Google+ allow users to remove their data, others like Facebook make it incredibly difficult to do so.
 
Such companies, which rely on this personal information for their advertising revenue, are voicing staunch opposition to the proposals. The US government and a number of historians are also concerned, as they believe that valuable records, for prosecution and history, will be lost.
 
vivianereding EU data protection laws will carry high fines
 
The laws have already been tamed compared to their prior incarnation, however. The proposals will not, for example, make a company liable for not removing every trace of data if they can show that a third party copied the information without their knowledge or consent. Personal blogs will also be exempt from the rules.
 
However, companies will be required to gain user permission, rather than assuming that a user agrees, as is currently the case with many “opt out” services. In some cases the firms in question are more worried about this than the fines, as they will likely lose far more than two percent of their revenue if they cannot continue with their existing data practices.
 
The new laws will come into effect at the end of 2013, subject to approval by the European Parliament and all Member States.
 
Source: Reuters