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EU Agrees ‘Strong Compromise’ On Protecting Consumer Data

December 16, 2015 - Written By John Anon

Data and security are two of the major buzzwords that have been hitting the headlines over the last year. In fact, to many consumers, the two are clearly interchangeable and at the very least are an extension of each other. As a result of the attention that data and security have been getting of late, certain organizations, governments and political establishments have been evaluating their stance on data and security. Most recently, the European Union (EU).

In a press release sent out today by the EU, the cross-border organization has announced that they have come to what they refer to as a “strong compromise“on data protection. As a result of this compromise, the EU will be putting forward plans to address how organizations and businesses deal with EU citizen data. The short of the announcement is that the EU intends to give control of citizen data back to the citizens and in doing so, establish a legal framework which more clearly defines how data is to be handled by companies and the ramifications of not handling citizen data accordingly. As such, one of the major aspects of the Data protection package is that companies will not be able to share EU citizen data without the expressed permission of the citizen. Companies who intend to use individual data will therefore have to seek approval for that data to be used prior to using it. Breaching this could be quite costly to some companies with a proposed fine of up to 4-percent of the company’s annual turnover being suggested.

Interestingly, although a compromise was met on the major aspects of the package, the announcement does detail that one particular area could not reach a unanimous decision and this was the age of consent for children to use social media. In particular, a consensus that the age of consent should be set at thirteen years. As a result of the inability to reach a unifying decision on this aspect, the announcement details that member states will be left to individually decide what the age limit (between thirteen to sixteen years of age) for their citizens should be.