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Online privacy and safety

Common EU rules guarantee a high standard of privacy online. The EU is committed to ensuring citizens, and particularly children, are safe online.

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ePrivacy

Each time we go online, we are entrusting our personal information to the websites we use and to the companies that provide us with the Internet. This information can range from our names and contact details, to our likes and dislikes, to our credit card information.

EU-wide rules can help protect our data when we browse the Internet. The EU is currently discussing new privacy rules that build trust and security online for the Digital Decade. The rules will give us greater control over our data and devices. And, they will update current ePrivacy rules to cover new forms of communication online.

New ePrivacy rules go hand in hand with other EU initiatives to ensure our privacy online. For example, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ensures our personal data can only be gathered under strict conditions and for legitimate purposes.

A better Internet for children

Around one in three Internet users is a child. Children are accessing content online at younger and younger ages.

While there are excellent opportunities for learning and creativity online, there are also risks. Children may be exposed to fake news, cyberbullying, privacy breaches, harmful content and grooming.

The EU launched its Strategy for a Better Internet for Children with the aim of introducing specific measures for young people online.

To create a better internet for children, the Commission has set goals to:

  • encourage more creative and educational content for children
  • foster awareness and empowerment through digital literacy and online safety courses
  • create a safe environment through age appropriate privacy settings and parental controls
  • tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation online

Latest

PRESS RELEASE |
The European Cybersecurity Competence Centre and Network is now ready to take off

The regulation establishing a new Cybersecurity Competence Centre and a Network of National Coordination Centres has entered into force this week. The Cybersecurity Competence Centre, which will be located in Bucharest, will contribute to strengthening European cybersecurity capacities and to boosting research excellence and the competitiveness of the Union's industry in the cybersecurity field.

PRESS RELEASE |
EU Cybersecurity: Commission proposes a Joint Cyber Unit to step up response to large-scale security incidents

The Commission has laid out a vision to build a new Joint Cyber Unit to tackle the rising number of serious cyber incidents impacting public services, as well as the life of businesses and citizens across the European Union. Advanced and coordinated responses in the field of cybersecurity have become increasingly necessary, as cyberattacks grow in number, scale and consequences, impacting heavily our security. All relevant actors in the EU need to be prepared to respond collectively and exchange relevant information on a ‘need to share', rather than only ‘need to know', basis.

PRESS RELEASE |
Security Union: EU rules on removing terrorist content online enter into force

Landmark EU rules on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online entered into force this week. Platforms will have to remove terrorist content referred by Member States' authorities within 1 hour. The rules will also help to counter the spread of extremist ideologies online - a vital part of preventing attacks and addressing radicalisation.

PRESS RELEASE |
Commission proposes a trusted and secure Digital Identity for all Europeans

The Commission has proposed a framework for a European Digital Identity which will be available to all EU citizens, residents, and businesses in the EU. Citizens will be able to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their European Digital Identity wallets with the click of a button on their phone. They will be able to access online services with their national digital identification, which will be recognised throughout Europe. Very large platforms will be required to accept the use of European Digital Identity wallets upon request of the user, for example to prove their age

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Digital privacy

The ePrivacy Directive and the General Data Protection Regulation help ensure digital privacy for EU citizens.