Proposal made for sweeping data protection in EU

BRUSSELS (AP) ? Applying the same standards to protect personal data in all 27 European Union countries will save businesses billions, a senior European Union official said Tuesday, launching a proposal for reforms she said would also safeguard individual privacy.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding’s proposal also included a “right to be forgotten” that would mean if a Facebook user wants to take down photos or posts, the company will also have to delete them from its database.

Reding said if enacted the reforms would save businesses operating in the EU about euro2.3 billion ($2.99 billion) a year as they would have just one set of rules to follow rather than the 27 member countries’ different sets.

Rule breaches could be punished by fines of up to euro1 million ($1.3 million), or up to 2 percent of the company’s annual turnover, she said.

In addition, she asserted that giving consumers increased confidence about the security of their personal information would boost online business in the EU.

“The protection of personal date is a fundamental right for all Europeans, but citizens do not always feel in control of their personal data,” Reding said.