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European Union online privacy rules change today

Published on .

Brussels, Belgium—The European Union's new Internet privacy rules will require companies conducting online marketing campaigns in the 27 EU member countries to receive explicit permission, or opt-in consent, to track individuals' actions online, among other new features. The changes to the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive require that users be given information on the use of the collected data before being asked for their consent. Companies then must obtain "explicit consent" from Web users before storing cookies on their computers for behavioral tracking purposes; must secure opted-in user data; and are required to inform users about data that third parties store or access. Meanwhile, several bills have been introduced in the U.S. that would regulate the use of behavioral tracking, but none go as far as the new EU regulations in requiring upfront opt-ins.
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