European Union member states endorsed a sweeping overhaul of the 28-country bloc’s data protection laws on Monday, bringing a web of national laws into one set of rules that could see companies fined when they break them.
The new data protection regulation seeks to strengthen the privacy of citizens at a time when the use of personal data by web giants such as Facebook and Google has come under increased scrutiny in the EU.
The new rules still need to be approved by the European Parliament, which could push for changes, but a final agreement is expected by the end of the year.
One of the issues could be the level of fines. The deal endorsed by member states on Monday sets penalties of up to 2 percent of annual turnover for companies breaking the rules. However EU lawmakers voted last year for a ceiling of 5 percent of annual turnover.