Changes to EU Data Protection Law May Hurt Facebook, Google

The European Commission is working with Germany to come with new data protection laws that could make things difficult for online companies like Facebook.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding and the German Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, Ilse Aigner have held meetings in Brussels to chart out the changes they plan to make to the EU data protection act, which will be introduced in January 2012.

What the European Union is planning to significantly affect and even disrupt the operations of companies like Facebook and Google who rely on user data for revenue. Generally, user generated data, which also includes personal information, is used for targeted advertising by these companies.

The laws which the EU is trying to introduce would make it mandatory for companies to get users' consent before using their data. Also, users will have the right to delete their data at any given time, especially the data which they themselves have posted online.

Facebook is known for saving user data even after the user deletes his or her account from the social networking platform.

"We both believe that companies who direct their services to European consumers should be subject to EU data protection laws. Otherwise, they should not be able to do business on our internal market. This also applies to social networks with users in the EU. We have to make sure that they comply with EU law and that EU law is enforced, even if it is based in a third country and even if its data are stored in a 'cloud'," Reding and Aigner said in press release.