Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is working the room at the European Commission, as the commission is considering some new online privacy proposals. These new proposals, should they go into effect, would apply across all EU member countries, which means it would affect one of the largest markets for Facebook Inc (FB) and other online/tech companies.
The EC unveiled some new online privacy and data protection proposals, which include a provision that allows for a fine equal to two percent of annual revenue in the EU for serious breaches of user privacy or data, plus a rule that requires companies to publicly acknowledge such a breach within 24 hours of it happening – not since discovered, which may be a key point. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is actively looking to convince the commissioners to rethink the ideas.
Of most concern for Facebook Inc (FB), a source said, was a rule that gave users the right to request to have their information erased from Web sites like Facebook – also called the “right to be forgotten” provision. Facebook claims that the rule would take away users’ right to be remembers as well as dampen freedom to expression. Simon Milner of Facebook U.K. and Ireland, said, “The right to delete your online data is an important one, the right to erasure is a key principle. However, the right to be forgotten … raises many concerns with regard to the right of others to remember and to freedom of expression. It is important this can be implemented in practice, but as drafted the current proposal risks introducing measures which are both unreasonable and unrealistic. We’ve urged policy makers to consider fully the implications on… freedom of expression and finding the right balance on different uses of the Internet.”
The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office expressed some opposition to the proposals in their current form, and the Justice Committee suggested the EC to “go back to the drawing board” after posting a list of concerns. While these proposals are not in final form, they would encourage us to discuss some new questions – if these proposals go into effect and actually help users trust Web sites more, would that increase traffic to these sites, and thus generate more business for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), or would it have the opposite effect, which it appears Facebook claims? If you were an investor in the stock, like billionaire George Soros of Soros Fund Management, would you invest in Facebook (FB) and make a bet on EU business? Give us your thoughts and concerns.