As part of the European Union's observation of Data Protection/Privacy Day, EU Commissioner Viviane Reding sad she planned to revamp the union's 1995 data protection directive so that it could catch up to technology as it exists today. Business Week quotes Reding this way:
Innovation is important in today's society but should not go at the expense of people's fundamental right to privacy...We need a change of approach: Businesses must use their power of innovation to improve the protection of privacy and personal data from the very beginning of the development cycle.
She also noted that, at any time, people should have the right to say no to the collection and use of their data. To that end, the commission will be creating a "clear, modern set of rules" addressing data protection and privacy. And given the commission's expanded powers under the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the new legislation will cover more ground than existing rules.
Whether intentional or not, the announcement seems to be a direct response to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's assertion at the Consumer Electronics Show that online privacy is essentially dead because "no one cares anymore."
Apparently the EU does care.