EC Reinforces Tough Stance on Data Privacy with New Rules

December 28th, 2015

Recurring Theme:  Data Privacy 

Earlier this week the European Commission (EC) approved new rules to boost data privacy protections for European Union (EU) citizens.  Although the rules have not yet been approved by EU member states, they are expected to, putting them into effect in 2017.  The rules come as tensions continue to mount between the EU and United States (US) over data privacy standards. In recent months, the EU has squared off against major US companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. In October, the European Court of Justice also acted to invalidate the US-EU Safe Harbor Agreement for the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US.

The new rules reinforce the EU’s toughening stance on data privacy and don’t bode well for US companies that may have been holding out for a new arrangement similar to the previous safe harbor protections.  Under the rules, EU regulators will be able to issue higher fines for violations, require companies to remove personal data upon request, and tighten reporting requirements for data breaches. The requirements will apply any company serving EU citizens.

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