Electronic Commerce In The European Union: Data Protection

Corporate marketing departments have always been hungry for customer data and the Internet has made it easier than ever before to collect that data. But there are some rules that must be respected in the collection and use of data about customers and visitors to your web site. Special attention needs to be paid to national data protection regulations and especially to the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC of 24 October 1995 and to the Telecommunications Data Protection Directive 97/66/EC of 15 December 1997. Complying with data protection law is a complex process that requires a comprehensive and consistent management approach throughout the whole organisation. The Data Protection Directive aims to ensure the free flow of data within the Union while safeguarding the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals. It guarantees the confidentiality of electronic messages and prohibits any kind of interception or surveillance of such electronic messages by any party other than the senders and intended recipients.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

What are the requirements for collection, use and access to the collected information?
I have heard about Safe Harbour, what is that about?
Vendors mine personal data from a number of sources, are there any protections for this kind of data gathering?

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