New EU Telecom rules might affect search
The European Union last week agreed on new rules that should reform the Telecom business in 2010. The new rules amongst others mean stronger consumer rights, an open internet, a single European telecoms market and high-speed internet connections for all citizens. This can affect many in Europe when it comes to Telecom, but it can also have its impact on search and social media. And not just for us Europeans, Americans can be 'affected' to.
In a press release the European Union Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding stresses the importance of the agreement:
"It is very good news for Europe's citizens that negotiators of the Parliament and Council last night reached agreement on a new internet freedom provision to be included in the telecoms reform package. This internet freedom provision is unprecedented across the globe and a strong signal that the EU takes fundamental rights very seriously, in particular when it comes to the Information Society. The agreement on the new internet freedom provision, which has the unanimous support of all negotiators, now paves the way for a swift entry into force of this telecoms reform. The reform will substantially enhance consumer rights and consumer choice in Europe's telecoms markets, and add new guarantees to ensure the openness and neutrality of the internet. It will boost competition and investment in telecoms markets, and open up airwaves for new mobile services, allowing internet broadband for all Europeans."
The European Union says there are 12 prominent reforms in the package:
Most of these measurements are really focussed on the Telecom industry and could be very good measurements, after all, who doesn't want to change carriers and keep your number in a day?
The one measurement that will really affect search however is measurement five, the protection against personal data breaches and spam. The privacy issue is a much debated issue in the last couple of years and reaches a new hight with this measurement.
The new rule introduces mandatory notifications for personal data breaches. It's the first time a law of its kind is introduced in Europe. This means that communications providers will be obliged to inform the authorities and their customers about security breaches affecting their personal data. This will increase the incentives for better protection of personal data by providers of communications networks and services.
The rule states:
"In addition, the rules concerning privacy and data protection are strengthened, e.g. on the use of “cookies” and similar devices. Internet users will be better informed about cookies and about what happens to their personal data, and they will find it easier to exercise control over their personal information in practice. Furthermore, internet service providers will also gain the right to protect their business and their customers through legal action against spammers."
In summary that means cookies are not allowed anymore, unless users specifically allow them. Which means you will have to ask them first.
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