Europe Leads in Pushing for Privacy of User Data

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To address concerns about data protection, Viviane Reding, the European justice commissioner, said that she would propose extending unionwide rules about breaches of privacy to online banking, video games, shopping and social media.

The rules require phone companies and Internet service providers to inform customers of any data breach “without undue delay.” “European citizens care deeply about protecting their privacy and data protection rights,” Reding said. “Any company operating in the E.U. market or any online product that is targeted at E.U. consumers should comply with E.U. rules.” Reding made her remarks shortly after Sony apologized for a data theft involving 77 million account holders of the PlayStation Network, and a week after Apple said it would change the software that logs the location of users of its iPhone and iPad tablet computer. “Seven days is too late,” Reding said, referring to how long it took Sony to inform account holders. Regarding Apple, she said she understood how the discovery that the iPhone collected location data had eroded “the trust of our citizens.” Abraham L. Newman, an assistant professor at Georgetown University and a specialist in European privacy issues, said Europe’s spotlight on privacy could offer companies like Apple and Google the chance to reorganize the way they handled policies worldwide, using European standards in their corporate strategy.

Europe Leads in Pushing for Privacy of User Data Sony, Apple Must Repair User Trust in Privacy Standards, EU’s Reding Says (Bloomberg)