There is a dark side to some of the impressive new online technologies that are appearing, from social networking to behavioural advertising to RFID ‘smart chips’, the European Commission’s internet chief has warned.
While such technologies offer great vistas of opportunity, the commission is monitoring their development “closely” for the very real potential threats to privacy they contain, information society commissioner Viviane Reding said on Monday at a debate on the future of the internet in Brussels. […]But she said she worries about all users of social networking, not just children, and fears that most users of such sites are unaware of the dangers to their privacy.
“Social networking has a strong potential for a new form of communication and for bringing people together, wherever they are,” she said. “But is every social networker really aware that all pictures and information uploaded on social networking profiles can be accessed and used by anyone on the web?” […]
Ms Reding said that the EU executive was watching [the development of targeted behavioral advertising] for infringement of privacy: ” European privacy rules are crystal clear: a person’s information can only be used with their prior consent.”
“The commission is closely monitoring the use of behavioural advertising to ensure respect for our privacy rights,” she added. “I will not shy away from taking action where an EU country falls short of this duty.”