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MEPs boost online privacy rights and child safety

September 23, 2008 11:12 AM

The European Parliament is set to toughen up consumer rights and privacy protection for phone and internet customers as well as to make children safer.

In amendments to current EU telecoms regulations, new provisions will toughen online security requirements and require phone companies and internet service providers (ISPs) to warn users of security breaches resulting in possible malicious use of their personal data.

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Liberal Democrat European Justice Spokeswoman and a consistent campaigner for tougher measures on data protection, said:

"It's high time that phone and internet users were informed when their personal details are hacked into. Coupled with a related new obligation to inform customers of security safeguards, this will give firms an incentive to keep breaches to a minimum by beefing up their own investment in security.

"MEPs are also right to boost child safety by making compulsory the provision by EU states of a 116000 missing child telephone hotline number, since most of them have disgracefully failed to honour a voluntary agreement reached 18 months ago. This would then be part of a Europe-wide missing child amber alert system for which Liberal Democrats are on the way to securing EU funding. "

Other improvements contained in the new directive cover more transparent information on prices and contract terms; better services for disabled users; and 'public service' warnings about online hazards like risks of copyright infringement and counterfeit medicines.