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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

How Europe is dealing with privacy online

Euro symbol on a computer keyboard © EU

In an article published by CNN, Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner, said "Today, we live in a world of breathtaking possibilities. We can send instant messages to our loved ones on the other side of the world at the tap of a finger. We can share vacation photos with friends in real time. We can entrust our private data to a cloud service provider without having to worry about storage space.

All this technological advancement helps drive innovation, growth and job creation. In Europe, we are embracing these changes. But alongside progress, we are faced with new regulatory challenges.

In a recent poll, 72% of Europeans said they are concerned about how companies use their personal data. Worries about online privacy are one of the most frequent reasons for why people don't buy goods and services on the Web. Our confidence in a digital future will depend on whether we know that our data will be safely protected."

Last month Vice-President Viviane Reding presented legislative proposals to reform EU data protection rules in order to make European goods and services more accessible to businesses and consumers and set an international standard for online privacy. The Commission's proposals update and modernise the principles enshrined in the 1995 Data Protection Directive to guarantee privacy rights in the future. The initiative will help reinforce consumer confidence in online services, providing a much needed boost to growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.