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EC works with Germany over social networking

The European Commission has met with German data protection authorities as part of efforts to strengthen European data law, the Commission has announced.European justice commissioner Viviane Reding met German federal minister for consumer protection, Ilse Aigner, in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss upcoming proposals to change the 1995 Data Protection Directive, the European Commission said on Tuesday.
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor on

The European Commission has met with German data protection authorities as part of efforts to strengthen European data law, the Commission has announced.

European justice commissioner Viviane Reding met German federal minister for consumer protection, Ilse Aigner, in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss upcoming proposals to change the 1995 Data Protection Directive, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

Reding and Aigner share concerns about social networks' use of data, Reding's spokesman Matthew Newman told ZDNet UK on Wednesday.

"Some of the concerns Ilse Aigner has expressed about social networking are shared [by the Commission], particularly about transparency," said Newman. "All companies operating in the EU should abide by EU rules."

One central tenet of the proposed reform to European data law is that companies who provide services for European consumers, such as Facebook, should be subject to European data laws.

"This... applies to social networks with users in the EU," said Reding in the statement. "We have to make sure that they comply with EU law and that EU law is enforced, even if it is based in a third country and even if its data are stored in a 'cloud'."

The Commission will come forward with proposals to reform the 1995 Data Protection Directive by the end of January 2012.

Germany has a strong data protection stance, with legislation that goes beyond what is required by current European data law.

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