In a near-unanimous vote, the European Parliament has voted in favor of a comprehensive data protection regulation. The new law will make several changes to European data privacy law, give citizens better access to their data, restrict the ways it can be used outside the European Union, and punish companies that breach the regulation with significant fines. The regulation will be the first update to European privacy legislation since the EU passed the 1995 Data Protection Directive. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding stated, "The message the European Parliament is sending is unequivocal: This reform is a necessity, and now it is irreversible." In 2012 and 2013, EPIC and over twenty other US consumer, privacy, and civil liberties groups sent letters to the European Parliament in support of this reform. The European Consumer Organization (BEUC) supports the regulation. EPIC has also spoken before the European Parliament in support of the regulation. For more information, see EPIC: EU Data Protection Directive.
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Machines of Loving Grace by John Markoff