The European Union has passed a new law that requires Internet companies to remove personal data about people if requested, the BBC is reporting. This means that such companies as Facebook and Twitter would be forced to remove all traces of a customer, which includes anything they have ever published about themselves, if they ask to have their account removed, including backup information. And according to the Telegraph, it also will mean that companies that don’t comply may be forced to pay 2% of their global turnover if they break the rules.
The new law comes as people throughout Europe have been complaining to their individual governments that entities on the Internet, both large and small, have been lax about removing customer data when asked. To solve the matter, leaders from countries in the European Union met and discussed ways to deal with the situation and wound up drafting legislation that has now been put into effect.
The new law also specifically requires that people have easier access to data on corporate sites and that measures be put in place to allow transfer of that data if customers wish. Users and customers will also be given the right to demand removal of data about them if site cannot offer a legitimate reason for holding on to it.
Also in a move to put some of the onus on Internet companies, the new law also forces such companies to notify customers of security breaches regarding their data within 24 hours of the breach.
The new law also stipulates that if customer consent is required to fulfill any of the obligations pursuant to the new law, that such consent be granted by the customer before action is taken.
And finally, any company that has 250 or more employees will be required to retain a compliance officer to ensure the new law is heeded.
The new law will likely be challenged by companies who feel they should either be exempt from its stipulations or who feel they cannot operate their business due to the rules it is being made to follow. And of course, there will be all sorts of challenges involving global entities such as Facebook, Twitter and even Google, as local entities such the EU attempt to set rules that would apply to the way they conduct business in those jurisdictions.
There will also likely be issues raised in other countries, most particularly the United States, about whether the new rules made by the EU should be enforced, and if not, what actions the EU could take against Internet companies that fail to follow the rules and refuse to pay fines levied against them.