EU data protection

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26 February 2008

The EU data protection commissioners have ruled that the EU data protection rules apply to personal data processed by companies that do not have offices in the EU. They state that EU provisions also apply to controllers who have their headquarters outside the EU, but have an establishment in the EU, or who use automated equipment based in the EU for processing personal data. 

This follows the battle between the EU privacy watchdogs and search engine companies over the processing of personal data. The watchdogs claim that companies are in breach of the rules by keeping records of which internet addresses gave rise to what searches. Under the rules, users must agree to the collection of their data and have the right to verify information collected or object to its storage. There is an ongoing debate about whether or not IP addresses count as personal data.

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