The European Commission is proposing far-reaching amendments to data protection laws in order to force internet companies to provide better data privacy and security to their customers in Europe.
Among the proposed measures is 'the right to be forgotten', allowing users of services such as Facebook to have their personal data completely erased.
Justice commissioner Viviane Reding said that websites needed to hand back consumers the control over their data and said that privacy settings on websites should be set to 'privacy by default'. Reding also stressed that websites should prove to their customers exactly why they need to store their data.
The EU commissioner said that internet companies operating in Europe will have to comply with EU laws on data protection and privacy no matter where the website is hosted or data is stored.
The European regulator has already been working on the new data laws with Reding, and is looking to present new legislation to the EU this summer.
“For example, a US-based social network company that has millions of active users in Europe needs to comply with EU rules,” Reding said in a statement.
She also urged member nations to equip their national data and privacy watchdogs with the necessary powers in order to keep internet companies in-check.
“To enforce the EU law, national privacy watchdogs shall be endowed with powers to investigate and engage in legal proceedings against non-EU data controllers whose services target EU consumers,” Reding added.