Skip to main content

EU outlining personal data protection rules

Image used with permission by copyright holder

In these days when it seems people live their entire lives in full view of the global Internet via services like Facebook and Twitter, the European Union is working on a framework to strengthen protections for personal data—including a “right to be forgotten,” meaning that individuals’ data should be removed when no longer needed and that individual would have a right to demand their data be deleted.

“The protection of personal data is a fundamental right,” said EU Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding, in a statement. “To guarantee this right, we need clear and consistent data protection rules. We also need to bring our laws up to date with the challenges raised by new technologies and globalization.”

The European Commission has drafted a framework for data protection policies (PDF), and while the text doesn’t represent a final draft, it does indicate how the Commission is thinking and what can be expected from a formal proposal next year to revise the EU”s 1995 Data Protection Directive.

In a nutshell, the regulations would mandate that the collection of use of personal data would be restricted to the amount of information minimally necessary to provide a service, with fully transparent disclosure to users as to how long their data will be kept, how it will be used, and who has access to it. Users should be able to give “informed consent” to the use of their personal data, and have a “right to be forgotten” when their data is no longer needed, or when a user wants their data deleted.

The EU is also looking to unify data protection policies across member states to create a level playing field for customers, so companies don’t have to jump through one set of privacy regulations in one state while doing something totally different in another. The Commission is also looking at unifying rules for data retention and disclosure to law enforcement—this could apply to everything from secured BlackBerry communications to server logs—and plans to re-examine the 2006 Data Retention Directive which mandates companies store communications traffic data for six months to two years.

Strengthening individuals’ rights to consent to the use of personal data and require that personal data be deleted would put the EU at the forefront of personal privacy regulation. While much of the rest of the world is concerned with the complexity of Facebook’s privacy settings—if they’re concerned at all—the EU is working to define individuals rights to access, delete, or modify personal data as a “essential right” in the digital world. it should make for interesting times…particularly when the EU looks to extend any policies to international operations conducting business in member states. After all, After all, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on CNN last week people who were concerned about Google Street View taking pictures of their homes and businesses could protect their privacy: they could “just move.”

Editors' Recommendations

Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
If you have an AMD GPU, stay away from the latest Windows Update
Two AMD Radeon RX 7000 graphics cards on a pink surface.

A quick PSA: If you own one of AMD's best graphics cards and you like to tweak the settings, now is not a good time to download the latest Windows Update. According to users on the AMD forums, the KB5030310 update really doesn't agree with AMD's Adrenalin Control Panel. While it's not the end of the world, this isn't the first Windows update in the last few months that has caused problems.

It appears that every time people restart their PCs, their Adrenalin settings are all reset back to default. This means that any changes made to things like AMD's Anti-Lag or Hyper RX will disappear upon every boot. Fortunately, the graphics driver itself is unaffected.

Read more
Dell G16 gaming laptop discounted from $1,250 to $800
Three different color variants of the Dell G16 gaming laptop on a table.

The Dell G16 gaming laptop is one of the gaming laptop deals we highlight because it frequently represents great value for money. That's certainly the case at the moment with Dell selling the laptop for $450 off the usual price, bringing it down to $800 from $1,250. If that sounds like a sweet deal to you, read on while we tell you more about what it offers for the price. It's easily one of the more appealing laptop deals out there.

Why you should buy the Dell G16 gaming laptop
The Dell G16 gaming laptop is kitted out with pretty good hardware for the price. It has a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor along with 16GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. The highlight is its Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card which means you'll be able to play many of the latest games without any bother.

Read more
Google could kill Gmail spam with an upcoming major update
Gmail icon on an Android phone.

Google Workspace has plans to beef up the security within Gmail in the coming year, with a focus on making bulk emails less easy to flood users with.  

While the brand has begun sharing details of its plans for Gmail, it won't begin rolling out updates to the email service until February 1, 2024. The advance notice is to prepare users, especially those who navigate the Gmail platform in bulk, meaning over 5,000 messages at once, of the upcoming changes.

Read more