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New EU Data Protection Laws May Impose Big Fines

Under its new data protection laws, the European Union plans to fine businesses 5 per cent of their global turnover if they breach data laws.

The EU, under the leadership of Vivian Reding, is looking to have strong data protection and plans to empower users with a right to their data, which has otherwise been denied by internet companies like Google and Facebook.

Reding is planning to put forward a new set of data protection laws next month in the European parliament with a view point of replacing the age old European data protection laws that were passed in 1995.

"In a world of ever-increasing connectivity, our fundamental right to data protection is in this moment seriously tested. Although the basic principles and objectives of the 1995 Directive remain valid, the rules need to be adapted to new technological challenges," Reding said during the Second Annual European Data Protection and Privacy Conference.

The EU has found that companies are careless in the manner in which they handle data, be it consumer data or internal data. The laws intend to put a stop to activities such as sale of customer data and to ensure that such data is adequately protected.

According to the Financial Times, which has seen some of the drafts of the new laws, companies will have 24 hours to inform the authorities and affected entities about a data breach.