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EU will reveal a data protection overhaul this week

Companies must report data breaches within 24 hours
Mon Jan 23 2012, 15:59

THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) will reveal an overhaul of its data protection policies this week with a focus on advertising and social networking web sites.

According to Bloomberg, one of the proposals to simplify and toughen Europe's data protection rules will require companies to disclose data breaches within 24 hours, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said.

The bill includes stricter sanctions and gives national data protection authorities powers to hand out administrative sanctions and fines. Reding said at a conference in Munich that it will "become a trademark people recognise and trust worldwide."

The EU initiative comes after Sony was slammed by lawmakers last year after taking six days to warn companies about an attack that exposed over 100 million customer accounts.

Companies will now need to obtain users' consent to store information and delete data unless there is a "legitimate and legally justified interest" to keep it. "Companies that suffer a data leak must inform the data protection authorities and the individuals concerned, and they must do so without undue delay," said Reding.

Google, Yahoo and Facebook are among those that that collect user information to target users with advertising, so having to get approval for individual data retention could affect revenues.

The draft rules are aiming to establish common legislation for the EU, and uniform legislation will save businesses $3bn a year, according to Reding. µ


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