EU’s Kroes Calls for More Rules to Control Internet Data Spying

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said that more rules need to be in place to govern online spying on user data as she pushes through a package of reforms meant to increase Internet and mobile use.

“Spying is the world’s second-oldest profession,” Kroes said in an interview at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today. “There should be more rules and there should be from the two sides an attitude where we have to do it together.”

Commissioners are pursuing reforms in the European Parliament that are aimed at increasing growth of digital services and Internet use. Security is an important part of making people feel confident in sharing more of their data online, she said.

The U.S. National Security Agency’s practice of collecting communications data, revealed last year by former government contractor Edward Snowden, sparked a backlash as European governments grapple with how to cope with snooping by allies. President Barack Obama has since pledged that the administration won’t spy on foreign leaders unless it’s necessary and that the U.S. doesn’t use intercepted data to provide a commercial advantage to companies.

Kroes said that Obama’s current pledges are “not enough. There should be more, and to give us a bit of security and trust. That will be on the agenda no doubt about that.” She also said that businesses and customers should be careful about what they share online.

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