The European Commission has set out proposed new rules to strengthen personal privacy, with an increased responsibility for companies to protect online data.
The new rules include would the need for more formal consent to allow companies to hold data, and a ‘right to be forgotten’ - for individuals to have their data removed on request from websites and repositories, although certain forms of personal data such as medical records would be exempted. Companies that breach the proposed code could be fined up to two percent of their annual turnover.
European commissioner in charge of data privacy, Viviane Reding, said: "The protection of personal data is a fundamental right for all Europeans, but citizens do not always feel in full control of their personal data".
The new regulations require approval from EU member states and the European Parliament before coming into force. Member states will be able to specify individual regulations about data processing in specific areas including health.