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    EurActiv: Smartphone use changes debate on data protection

    EurActiv reports on proposals concerning data protection in Europe and how they would affect smartphone users:

    Consumer organisations and industry are squaring for battle over how far smartphone users’ personal data can be used under the European Union’s proposed data protection regime. […]

    Draft rules proposed by Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding would require some form of consent from smartphone users before companies could use the personal information contained in applications.

    Although the rules cover ordinary computer users, their effects will be keenly felt in the booming smartphone sector, in which there is fierce competition amongst companies creating ‘apps’ for phone users.

    Such tech companies frequently offer products for free and get income from online ads that are customised using data about customers.

    Reding’s draft rules would enable protection of personal information and ban companies from data-mining, said Jérémie Zimmerman, a spokesman for civil liberty group Squaring the Net.

    There are doubts as to how strong the final data protection rules will be, however, amid fears a proposed regulation to rein in the private sector might eventually be watered down to a directive, giving rise to nuanced interpretations across the EU’s member states.


    The debate over privacy is raging in the US as well, where lawmakers trying to reassure a worried public have introduced more than a dozen privacy bills in Congress. The Obama administration has called for a Privacy Bill of Rights to encourage companies to adopt better practices.

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