Microsoft, Google Groups Warn EU on Overly Strict Privacy Rules

Industry groups with members including Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Google Inc. (GOOG) warned the European Union against setting “overly strict” data privacy rules, claiming they would harm technology development in the region.

“Overly strict, static and bureaucratic data-protection rules will have a detrimental impact on Europe’s economy,” said 11 industry associations, including the Business Software Alliance, which counts Microsoft among its members, and IAB Europe, which has Google and Yahoo! Inc. on its roster.

Viviane Reding, the EU’s justice commissioner, has promised to propose changes to the region’s 16-year-old data-protection law before February. Reding reiterated earlier this month her stance that U.S. companies that operate in the 27-nation EU will have to stick to the rules.

The industry groups responded today with a set of recommendations urging the European Commission, the EU’s executive agency, “to achieve the right balance” between preserving privacy and enabling the free flow of information.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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