Greater protection for digital information looks likely to factor heavily in the European Union's new criminal justice plan.
The European Commission (EC) said on Tuesday that it will introduce a security and criminal justice system overhaul known as the Stockholm Programme.
The system will be deployed between 2010 and 2014, and will include stronger regulations on data protection and increased penalties for identity thieves.
The EC intends to conduct a study of identity theft, and craft a common definition and criminalisation of identity theft for all EU members for the first time. The plan calls for new laws to be introduced by 2012.
Additionally, the programme will introduce stricter controls on data retention and security. The EC said that it will have an evaluation report on data retention later this year, along with a plan to update the 1995 Data Protection initiative on protecting personal data for government and commercial uses.
New efforts to extend personal data protection outside the EU are also on the agenda. A proposed plan would call on the EU to draft an agreement with the US government on a legal framework and process in which citizens could file and process complaints about misused data by businesses in the EU and the US.
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