EU's Privacy Laws Will Affect U.S. Companies Too


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Justice Commissioner, Vivian Reding has made the statement, "It is... important to empower EU citizens, particularly teenagers, to be in control of their own identity online".

She goes on to say,"If an individual no longer wants his personal data to be processed or stored by a data controller, and if there is no legitimate reason for keeping it, the data should be removed from their system."

These seem like pretty intelligent statements and I think few would argue with them. People do need to realize that taking care of their online identity (or available personal information) is a responsibility that should be undertaken.

Regardless, the new privacy protection laws revealed by the EU earlier this week have many business 's concerned about their financial wellbeing. The initial draft of the updated laws would allow a very narrow window of opportunity for disclosure of a security leak before huge fines could be imposed.

Furthermore, the privacy protection laws could make corporations vulnerable to endless law suits. These laws wouldn't be able to take effect anytime soon and they could undergo numerous changes before they are passed but, many questions have been raised.

One big question is, how will the EU's privacy protection laws affect the U.S. and business in the U.S.?

The short answer is that we live under a global economy now, so even if these laws don't effect the U.S. now, they will shortly and they probably should.

Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg offered some keen advice on the subject:

“The Internet and social media, it’s not just posts and pictures and fun things with your friend. But this is really serious stuff. This is about growth. This is about jobs.”

She's right on! More and more employers are seeking out information about potential employees on social networking sites. They're using it the same way they would check on your profession credentials. People should realize that as more information becomes available, organizations and corporations will use it to screen people, and many times, it will not be to our benefit.

I don't think that the EU's tentative privacy protection laws are adequit in their current form but I agree that the global leaders needs to do something about protecting our information on the web. Corporations are not moral entities, they are competitors who exploit information to gain competitive advantage.

Our economy is an online economy so if Europe is doing something to regulate how information is handled it will most certainly spill over into the United States.