Feeds

Websites should notify European users about privacy breaches

European justice commish says EU privacy laws should be extended

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Europe-wide laws which require telecommunications companies to notify users if their data is at risk should be extended, the European justice commissioner has said.

Privacy rules created under the EU's Electronic Communications Framework should be extended to cover online banking, video games, shopping and social media, Viviane Reding said in a speech (in German).

Current rules, which are being implemented in the UK as part of amendments to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, require telecommunications companies and internet service providers to notify their customers and national regulators of personal data breaches immediately.

"I think it is important that users are notified if someone has unlawful access to their data," Reding said. "It is essential for consumer confidence that they know what happens to their data."

Reding said that in the upcoming review of data protection laws in Europe she would investigate the extension of the data breach notification process to more than just telecoms companies.

Addressing German privacy experts, including Germany's Data Protection Commissioner Peter Schaar, at a discussion in Brussels, Reding expressed her concern at a "veritable wave" of data-security incidents over the last two weeks.

Her comments came shortly after Sony apologised for a security breach involving 77 million PlayStation Network account holders, and a week after Apple said that it would update the software that logs the location of users of its mobile devices.

She spoke of five cornerstones to solid data protection laws to restore consumer confidence: the right to be forgotten, data transparency, corporate responsibility, independent data monitoring systems and "privacy by design" – ensuring that data protection safeguards are built into information systems from the start.

In her speech, Reding said that she could understand if Apple and Sony had eroded "the trust of our citizens" in technology in the face of the high-profile data security lapses.

This trust had to be reinstated, she said, through good legislation, independent data protection authorities and responsible company policy.

She stressed the importance of letting customers know immediately when their personal data had been put at risk. "Seven days is much too long," she said, referring to the delay between when Sony's security breach occurred – between 17 and 19 April – and when the company notified its customers on 26 April.

She urged that new EU data protection laws must be "clear and legible" and meet "current and likely future challenges" to the fundamental right to privacy.

"A social network with more than 200 million users in the EU must stick to EU law, even if it is based in the US and its data is stored in a so-called cloud," she said.

"European citizens care deeply about protecting their privacy and data protection rights," she added in a later statement to the International Herald Tribune.

"Any company operating in the EU market or in any online product that is targeted at EU consumers should comply with EU rules."

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.