New privacy legislation proposed in the European Union will require Twitter, Facebook, Google and other mega internet companies to delete all user data if that user wishes it deleted – or else face hefty fines.
The proposed legislation is set to go into law in 2013 if all 27 EU member states and the EU Parliament give it their stamp of approval, according to the Daily Mail.
At that time, Twitter, Facebook and other companies that collect user data would be required to delete – permanently – user information at the request of the user.
This information includes such things as photos and videos, status updates or tweets, profile information and more.
If the company does not delete this information, they will have to pay large fines of up to 2 percent of their annual turnover, or $1 million.
Viviane Reding, the EU Justice Commissioner, explains the proposed legislation:
“The protection of personal data is a fundamental right for all Europeans, but citizens do not always feel in full control of their personal data. A strong, clear and uniform legal framework at EU level will help to unleash the potential of the digital single market and foster economic growth, innovation and job creation.”
And while privacy advocates might be pretty pleased at this initiative, there is some serious concern in the tech industry.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to determine just who owns which information online.
They use the example of Wikipedia, and pose the question of whether a user owns the entry he or she posted about a certain topic, even if it has since been edited by other users. Or whether a user has the right to delete his or her half of a Facebook chat, the whole thing, or none of it.
The lines between personal information and public information are murky at best, and because of this some tech companies have expressed reluctance to even push into the European market should the legislation take effect.