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EU Justice Chief calls for tougher sanctions for companies that break data protection laws

The new legislation would see companies being fined 2 per cent of their global annual turnover for breaching data protection legislation.

The EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.
The EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE EU’S JUSTICE Commissioner has called on member states to take action and implement new reform policies that will impose tougher fines on companies.

In a speech about how businesses can thrive in the digital economy, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said it needs to implement new data reform legislation if it wants to build up consumer confidence and show citizens that their rights are being enforced.

Using Google as an example, it was fined €900,000 by Spain while France fined it €150,000, both were the highest possible sum that could be implemented. France’s fine only represented 0.0003 per cent of Google’s global turnover in 2012, something that Reding described as “pocket money” for the company.

Instead, she called for stricter sanctions that will ensure companies face serious consequences if they break the rules or fail to address concerns.

Is it surprising to anyone that two whole years after the case emerged, it is still unclear whether Google will amend its privacy policy or not?

Europeans need to get serious. And that is why our reform introduces stiff sanctions that can reach as much as 2 per cent of the global annual turnover of a company. In the Google case, that would have meant a fine of €731 million. A sum much harder to brush off.

Reding said that because privacy has been a talking point over the last few months, strong data protection rules will give businesses with privacy policies an advantage over other companies.

Read: Google privacy case can be heard in UK, court rules >

Read: Explainer: Why did Google pay $3.2 billion for Nest? >

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