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Reding tells Euro MPs to back telecoms reforms

Lady's not for turning

Telcoms commissioner Viviane Reding has told the European Parliament to back proposed changes to telecoms regulation across Europe.

The speech called for quicker data portability, compulsory data breach laws if private information is lost, more transparent pricing structures to make life easier for consumers, and more wireless broadband services to improve net access for rural types.

On moving your number from one mobile operator to another, Reding said: "If it can happen in Australia in two hours, then one day should be entirely feasible in Europe."

But Reding said she found it harder to understand why the Parliament had watered down proposals on data breach notification. She said:

What I find more difficult therefore to understand in Parliament's changes, is why subscribers are not similarly empowered and informed, when it comes to the privacy of their personal data? I know that Parliament takes the protection of citizens' fundamental rights very seriously, so I am surprised that the breach notification requirements in the Commission's proposals are diluted by the changes now on the table.

The default position should be that subscribers know of a breach of security concerning their personal data, so that the appropriate precautions can be taken. It cannot be left to the service provider to determine whether such a breach is likely to cause the subscriber harm.

The Commission also wants a more effective common emergency number across Europe - including better caller location information from some VoIP providers and better access to mobile devices and phones for disabled people.

The next stage is a vote in the European Parliament on 23 September. This could be followed by an agreement by Telecoms Ministers at a meeting on 27 November under the French Presidency.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pushed for further regulation of internet service providers. He suggested a law to force them, somehow, to filter out peer-to-peer applications used to share content illegally. ®

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