BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission unveiled new online data privacy rules on Wednesday, putting more responsibility on companies to protect users' information, and said those who breach the code could be fined up to two percent of their annual turnover.
After two years of examining the shifts in Internet use and the behavior of consumers using websites such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo!, the European commissioner in charge of data privacy, Viviane Reding, said she was determined to give individuals more control over their personal information.
"The protection of personal data is a fundamental right for all Europeans, but citizens do not always feel in full control of their personal data," Reding said.
"A strong, clear and uniform legal framework at EU level will help to unleash the potential of the digital single market and foster economic growth, innovation and job creation."
The new laws, which have caused widespread concern among major technology and data companies, are expected to come into force at the end of 2013, once they have been approved by all EU member states and the European Parliament.
(Reporting By Claire Davenport; editing by Luke Baker)