The European Commission called on Thursday for stronger protection of internet users’ personal information, after news of data leaks at companies like Facebook and Google highlighted concerns about digital privacy, reports the New York Times. Viviane Reding, the justice commissioner, announced its intention to overhaul the European Union’s data protection rules to take account of the development of social networking, personalized advertising and other web services that have raised privacy concerns. The new legislation, set to be introduced next year, would replace rules that date to 1995.

“The protection of personal data is a fundamental right,” Ms. Reding said. “To guarantee this right, we need clear and consistent data protection rules. We also need to bring our laws up to date with the challenges raised by new technologies and globalization.”

The commission said consumers should be informed “in a clear and transparent way” about how their data will be used. They should also have the right to fully delete digital information, like social networking profiles, and should be informed when their data has been used in unlawful ways, the commission added…

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