For some time now, there has been a call to protect the privacy of users, but it has not been taken very seriously by those concerned. The European Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, has decided to tackle the issue head on.
Reding has said that people have the right to have their data protected and also they have the right to be forgotten. She has said that this summer, new legislation will be enforced, to ensure this.
The legislation will focus on four aspects of user privacy:
- The right to be forgotten
It will henceforth be essential for the data controllers to prove that it is necessary to store certain data about the user. Also, if a user wants a particular photo or other information to be deleted, it should be deleted from all servers, and it should not be traceable at a later stage through some other server.
- Collection of data should be transparent
Users should know how data is collected. The websites and social networks concerned should clearly inform users about this when the user signs up for the service.
- Privacy by default
In other words the user’s information, photographs etc. should remain private unless the user specifies the contrary. At present, all data is public unless the user specifies the wish to make it private.
- Protection regardless of location
European privacy rights and data protection groups will have the authority to tackle data processors even outside of Europe, as far as European users are concerned.
These rules will be applicable to all 27 member states of the European Union. It is expected that the police and other authorities will work in tandem with each other to enforce this new legislation.
Facebook and Google, both of whom have been involved in controversies regarding user privacy, for some time now seem to be the particular targets of these new laws.