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Eu Chief Privacy Regulator on New Internet Rules

By Washington Post

November 22, 2011

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In an interview, European Commission vice president Viviane Reding discusses the differences between U.S. and European views on Internet privacy regulation.

The European Union is currently in the process of developing unified privacy regulations for Internet data protections. Under the current regulations, U.S. companies have 27 different interpretations of data protection legislation.

Reding says that this push towards unification will not include self-regulation attempts, which she calls a "fig leaf," explaining that officials should "look at the instability that self-regulation in the financial markets brought us. This is why I do encourage codes of conduct for businesses in Europe provided that they are fully in line with our European data protection law."

She believes that the philosophy behind any such codes should be the user's right to their own data. "Before a company can use your data they should ask for permission," Reding argues. She says the other priority for privacy regulation is data breaches. Companies operating in Europe were not previously required to notify customers of a data breach.

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