"Europeans must have the right to control how their personal information is used." -- EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding (pictured).

EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding, in her weekly video message, today said "Europeans must have the right to control how their personal information is used. European privacy rules are crystal clear: your information can only be used with your prior consent." In her address, Reding warns that social networking, RFID chips, behavioral advertising based on a user's Web browsing, and other such technology-based innovations often violate EU privacy rules and says that if they are not reined in by self-regulation that she is prepared to take action against them.

As an example, she called for online profiles of minors to be unavailable to search engines. She also said that "no European should carry a chip in one of their possessions without being informed precisely what they are used for, with the choice to remove or switch it off at any time."

In a warning to non-EU countries, she said that the EU will bring new initiatives when they are needed to ensure individual control over personal data, "in particular in cooperation with third countries where your personal data may be affected." She said the next Commission, which will come into office at the end of the year, must review Europe's rules on protecting personal information and reform those rules to account for new technology developments.

Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government