EurActive reports on new rules in the European Union to protect Internet users’ privacy:
Web firms will have to seek Internet users’ explicit consent before downloading their personal data and must make it possible for private information to be deleted for good from the web, according to a European Commission strategy on data protection to be unveiled today (4 November).
According to the draft paper, seen by EurActiv, the Commission is gearing up for a crackdown on how web companies, in particular social networking sites and online advertising firms, use citizens’ private data. [...]
Citizens should be kept informed of “what their rights are if they want to access, rectify or delete their data,” according to the paper, entitled ‘A comprehensive strategy on data protection in the European Union’.
The move stems in large part from problems the EU executive has had with web firms like Google, Yahoo! and Facebook. Facebook has had lengthy privacy disputes with national data protection authorities and Commission sources say the company is not out of trouble yet.
“Some social networking sites have complied with stricter privacy rules, but with Facebook there have been some problems,” a Commission official said. [...]
Behavioural advertising, when advertisers use an individual’s browsing history to send them adverts they think would be of interest, is also highlighted as a practice that needs stricter rules, according to the paper.
“The proliferation of actors involved […] and the technological complexity of the practice makes it difficult for an individual to know and understand if personal data is collected, by whom and for what purpose,” reads the document.
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