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Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

Proposal made for sweeping data protection in EU

By DON MELVIN

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission proposed sweeping reforms Wednesday to protect the confidentiality of personal data online including a “right to be forgotten,” which would let people have information about themselves deleted if there was no legitimate reason to retain it.

The Commission said the proposal would safeguard people’s privacy and save companies money, but some business interests have already said they will lobby for changes.

If the directive is ultimately adopted, it would update one from 1995, when fewer than 1 percent of Europeans used the internet. To take effect, it needs the approval of the European Council — the 27 European Union heads of government — as well as the European Parliament.

The “right to be forgotten” could greatly enhance the rights of people who use social media sites, which sometimes take down photos and posts at a user’s request but retain the information instead of deleting it.

The commission, which is the EU’s executive branch, cited the case of Max Schrems, 24-year-old Austrian law student who asked Facebook to send him a record of his personal data from three years of using the site. What he received was 1,222 pages of information — including chats he had deleted more than a year earlier, “pokes” dating back to 2008, invitations to which he had never responded, and hundreds of other details.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

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Don Melvin

Slobodan Lekic

Raf Casert

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