European citizensmust have the right to control how their personal information is used, and the European Commission will sue member states that do not respect this right, telecommunications commissioner Viviane Reding said today.
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In a video posted on her website, Reding said citizens' privacy must become priority in the digital age. This included protecting citizens against abuses of new technologies such as behavioural advertising, RFID "smart chips" and online social networking.
Reding said the European Commission would act to maintain this right as technology trends made it easier to use, and misuse, personal information. She warned that the EU would act where members failed to implement rules to ensure privacy and to get a person's consent before processing their personal data.
"We cannot give up this basic principle and have all our exchanges monitored, surveyed and stored in exchange for a promise of 'more relevant' advertising," she said
Reding also warned that radio frequency identification (RFID) would only fulfil its economic potential if it was used "by the consumer and not on the consumer".
"No European should carry a chip without being informed precisely what they are used for, with the choice to remove or switch it off at any time," she said.
Reding also called on social networking companies to reinforce privacy protection online. "At least the profiles of minors must be private by default and unavailable to internet search engines," she said.