Facebook’s chief says privacy is over, but the EU says otherwise

Two weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of social networking site Facebook, told the world to just get over it – no one cares about privacy anymore, provoking a storm of protest across cyberspace. On Thursday, the European Commission responded to the 24-year-old billionaire and announced plans for comprehensive new laws that have in their sights the massively popular website. The commission is concerned that its existing rules on data protection date back to 1995, the very early days of what was at the time called the “information superhighway” and are extraordinarily out of date. Brussels is not just worried that the internet has sped ahead of its regulatory grasp, but also that many technologies, in particular Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), behavioural advertising and even airport security devices have proceeded apace, leaving EU legislation in the lurch. The commission on Thursday, also the continent’s official Data Protection Day, “warned that data protection rules must be updated to keep abreast of technological change to ensure the right to privacy.” Underscoring its new powers under the Lisbon Treaty and the legal basis given to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the commission said it wants to create “a clear, modern set of rules” guaranteeing a high level of personal data protection and privacy. Mentioning Facebook, Myspace and Twitter by name, Ms Reding said she will start this year with a revision of the 1995 Data Protection Directive, in a speech that outlined the main principles and goals of her upcoming work as Europe’s top fundamental rights watchdog

http://euobserver.com/9/29367

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