Facebook , Microsoft, Google, Yahoo in Hot Water

Steven Petrov
The Paw Print

The European union protects its citizens from online identity theft and unauthorized usage of personal information

The European union’s reaction to the new accusations of the possible eavesdrop and surveillance by the American agency for national security (NSA), for some of the European countries’ leaders, led to a discussion of a possible new law that deals with online security.
When dealing with any national security agency it is hard to predict the extent of influence, impact, or activities that this agency is involved in, due to the fact that much is highly classified. However, the former CIA and NSA employee, Edward Snowden, who became famous after disclosing classified information for both US and British surveillance programs to the media, enlightened the world to the magnitude of NSA’s power and influence in terms of surveillance from individuals’ bank accounts to the phone of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Snowden currently lives in Russia, under the government’s direct protection.
Ironically this law will not really affect the NSA in a significant way, but instead will hurt the world’s leaders in technological development that deal with personal information like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The law will deal with the adequate usage of the European users’ personal information by these companies.
In case any of these technological “giants” misuse  European citizen’s information or fail to securely store it, companies are subject to a 100 million euros fine, or 5% of the company’s revenues generated over the year. Britain’s leading organization in personal information protection and identity theft prevention, Big Brother Watch expressed its surprise by the United States government and companies’ reaction to this new law. Their main argument deals with the fact that USA’s policy on identity protection is strict when US citizens are involved, but the country shows relatively low interest in anything that happens outside of its borders, regarding this international issue. In the same manner the European Union is trying to protect its citizens when foreign companies collect their personal information, in one way or another. Big Brother Watch’s director, Nick Pickles is also concerned that behind the protection policy that comes as the major reason for the law, there are many economical and financial reasons that outshadow the benefits   and are secretly embedded in the law. The underlying reasons for this law may create economic tension between the countries involved. As we know, when dealing with the Internet, everyone is involved.
There are different standpoints on this international issue, but no matter who you talk to, the real intentions behind this European law, as well as the reason for the collection of personal information from these multinational corporations, is probably known among a selected group of people while the majority are informed with what seems logical and serves as a reasonable explanation.

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