EU to propose tough web rules

The European Union will propose tough new rules in the coming days on how corporations handle internet users’ personal data, a long-awaited move that could have far-reaching implications for web giants such as Google and Facebook. Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission, said yesterday that the new data-protection legislation was needed to protect users and cut red tape for businesses in Europe.

"Only if consumers trust that their data is protected will they entrust companies with it ... We need individuals to be in control of their information," Reding said at the DLD conference of tech industry leaders in Munich. But Reding also emphasised a need to simplify Europe’s approach to online data protection, arguing that the current system was too cumbersome and costly for business.

Europe’s new data-protection rules are expected to be issued on 25 January.