Matthews Bark – Sports Former F1 Champ Schumacher In Coma After Brain Surgery

Source      – abcnews.go.com/
By             – SARAH DiLORENZO and GEIR MOULSON
Category – Matthews Bark

Matthews Bark
Matthews Bark

The Grenoble University Hospital Center said the retired racing driver arrived at the clinic in a coma and underwent immediate surgery for a serious head trauma.

It was not clear whether the 44-year-old Schumacher was still in a coma but the hospital statement, which was signed by a neurosurgeon, an anesthesiologist and Marc Penaud, the hospital’s deputy director, said “he remains in a critical condition.”

Schumacher fell while skiing off-piste in Meribel earlier Sunday and hit his head on a rock, according to a statement from the resort. Resort managers said he had been wearing a helmet and was conscious when rescuers first responded to the scene.

Earlier in the day, the Meribel resort said Schumacher had been taken to Grenoble for tests and authorities said his life was not in danger.

But the situation began to appear more serious when the resort said that orthopedic and trauma surgeon Gerard Saillant had traveled from Paris to the hospital in Grenoble to examine Schumacher. German news agency dpa said it was Saillant who operated on Schumacher when he broke his leg during a crash at the Silverstone race course in 1999.

In an email to The Associated Press, Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm said the champion German driver was on a private skiing trip and “fell on his head.”

“We ask for understanding that we cannot give running updates on his condition. He wore a helmet and was not alone,” Kehm said. Schumacher’s 14-year-old son was skiing with his father when the accident happened, the resort said.

As news of the accident spread, Formula One drivers used social media to wish Schumacher a quick recovery.

His former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa, who recovered from life-threatening injuries sustained at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009, wrote on Instagram: “I am praying for you my brother!! I hope you have a quick recovery!! God bless you Michael.”

The Twitter feed of Germany’s Adrian Sutil, who drives for Sauber, read: “I hope Michael Schumacher will get well soon! All my best to him and his family.” Romain Grosjean of Lotus tweeted: “All our thoughts to Schumi and his family! Hope you will recover soon #legend #Schumi.”

Support also came from leading German sports personalities, ranging from the NBA to soccer. Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki said his thoughts were with Schumacher, while Lukas Podolski, who plays for Arsenal in the English Premier League, tweeted: “Bad news from Switzerland: please get well soon, Michael Schumacher. All the best for you, my friend! #getwellsoon #MichaelSchumacher.”

In addition to the crash at Silverstone, Schumacher was hurt seriously in a motorcycling accident in February 2009 in Spain when he suffered neck and spine injuries. He recovered sufficiently from those injuries to make a comeback in F1.

Schumacher initially retired from F1 in 2006 after winning five straight titles with Ferrari following two earlier ones with Benetton. He returned to the sport in 2010 and drove for three seasons for Mercedes without much success before retiring again last year.

Source – abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/radio-f1-great-schumacher-injured-skiing-21360281

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Matthews Bark – Why Is The European Court Of Human Rights Hated By The UK Right?

Source      – theguardian.com/
By             – Jon Henley
Category – Matthews Bark

Matthews Bark
Matthews Bark

Amiran Natsvlishvili is not complaining about the kidnapping. Nor about the brutal beatings, or the huge ransom his family had to pay for his release. The former managing director of a state car plant in Georgia is not bitter, either, about the accusations of embezzlement and misuse of public funds.

No, as his young lawyer argues in a bright, high-ceiling courtroom in Strasbourg, what Natsvlishvili really objects to is that the state lied to him.

Locked up for more than four months in the same vile cell as the man who kidnapped and beat him as well as a convicted murderer, when the state finally offered him a deal – cop a plea, pay a fine and you’re free – Natsvlishvili was so desperate that he jumped at it. And then he was told he could not appeal.

That is why we are here, says the lawyer to the judges behind the bench at the European court of human rights: this man has plainly been denied the right to a fair trial. Georgia of course denies it, but it is in breach of article 6, paragraph 1 of the European convention on human rights.

Along with the European commission in Brussels, the Strasbourg-based ECHR could reasonably lay claim to being one of the most maligned institutions in Britain. (“Hardly surprising, I suppose,” quips a senior British court official. “Our name contains the words ‘European’ and ‘human rights’. Not exactly a winning combination.”)

Conservative MPs have said it is high time for Britain to “quit the jurisdiction” of a “supranational quango”. The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, is “reviewing Britain’s relationship” with an institution he says has “reached the point where it has lost democratic acceptability”.

Grayling said last week the ECHR did not “make this country a better place”. David Cameron has said the court risks becoming a glorified “small claims court” buried under a mountain of “trivial” claims , and suggested Britain could withdraw from the convention to “keep our country safe”. The home secretary, Theresa May, has pledged the party’s next manifesto will promise to scrap the Human Rights Act, which makes the convention enforceable in Britain.

Former lord chief justice Lord Judge and three other senior British judges have recently backed this stance in high-profile lectures, arguing that by treating the convention as a “living instrument” the ECHR is “undermining democracy”. Its judges, rather than parliament, are now making British law, they allege, and parliamentary sovereignty should not be ceded to “a foreign court”. But another leading supreme court judge, Lord Mance, last week forcefully defended the ECHR’s contribution to British law.

Parts of the press have been more outspoken, railing against “meddling, unelected European judges” who are “wrecking British law” and demanding the government “draw a line in the sand to defend British sovereignty” by “defying Europe … and ignoring the rulings of this foreign court”.

That’s not how they see things in Strasbourg. In the 60 years of its existence, the ECHR has reached well over 10,000 judgments in cases such as that brought by Natsvlishvili, prompting changes to national laws and procedures in nearly 50 countries that have now signed the convention.

In the past decade, the court has required Bulgaria to care properly for people with mental and physical disabilities, and Austria to allow same-sex couples to adopt each other’s children. It has forced Cyprus to take action against sex trafficking and Moldova to halt state censorship of TV. Its judgments have compelled improvements in Russian prisons, and more effective punishment of domestic violence in Turkey.

In France, laws have been passed to protect domestic servants from forced labour, while illegitimate children now have equal rights to inheritance.

Britain has been obliged to take greater care of vulnerable prisoners, regulate the monitoring of employees’ communications, protect the anonymity of journalists’ sources, bring the age of consent for gay people in line with that for heterosexuals and force local councils to observe proper safeguards in evictions.

“It isn’t just about the human rights of individuals,” says Paul Mahoney, the court’s veteran British judge, “it’s about the functioning of the rule of law – of democratic institutions – in countries not all of which have, like the UK, enjoyed 300-odd years of democracy and freedom.

At the end of the day, it’s possible for somebody from a tiny village to come here, take their government to court and get the law changed. That really is a small miracle.”

Deputy registrar Michael O’Boyle is equally forthright. “For six decades,” he says, “this institution has radiated a highly impressive body of case law out to the legal systems of a large number of countries – 47 today. It’s an advance in civilisation.”

Source – theguardian.com/law/2013/dec/22/britain-european-court-human-rights

Attorney Matthews Bark | “Partially Blind-Deaf Washburn Student To Graduate With Law Degree”

Source      : CJ Online
By               : Jan Biles
Category  : Attorney Matthews BarkSanford DUI Attorney

Matthews-Bark-Criminal-Defense
Matthews Bark Criminal Defense

A week after he entered Washburn University’s School of Law in August 2011, Bryan Alkire nearly quit. He wasn’t sure if he would fit in with the other students or be able to meet the challenges of its rigorous curriculum. His doubts proved to be unfounded. This coming Friday, Alkire, who is partially blind and partially deaf, will graduate with his law degree. “I’m hoping to go into a small-town general practice, handling all kinds of cases,” Alkire, 33, of Topeka, said during a recent email interview. “My plans are to take the Missouri bar exam in July 2014 and while studying for the bar exam, I’ll be looking for a job in Missouri, preferably in a small town.” Alkire, a native of Lexington, Mo., was born with a partially paralyzed right arm, hand, and fingers and a severe hearing loss. After graduating from Lexington High School in 1999, he went to Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., where he graduated in May 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science. About six weeks before his college graduation, he began losing his vision because of complications related to surgeries to treat a detached retina and acute angle glaucoma. He lost most of the vision in his left eye, and the vision in his right eye was reduced to light, some color and some motion.

After attending the Helen Keller National Center in Sands Point, N.Y., and the Lions World Services for the Blind in Little Rock, Ark., he completed a job training program for the Internal Revenue Service. He moved to Kansas City in October 2007 to work for the IRS, but within a few months his vision had declined so much he had to resign. In April 2010, Alkire spent a couple of months at Alphapointe Association for the Blind to ready himself to return to an academic setting. Tell me about the most challenging aspects of law school and getting your law degree.

The most challenging aspect of law school is keeping up with the material over the course of the semester. Often there’s 50 or more pages to read every day, and the material isn’t the easiest to read. Then, of course, there’s the finals. I’d say keeping mentally focused and not letting the stress and lack of sleep and physical ailments, like colds, become overwhelming is the most challenging aspect mentally. Tell me about the most rewarding aspect of your law school experience.
Without a doubt, meeting people at Washburn Law that I never would have met otherwise. I’ve met some very special people in my time here. When I’ve left a place and moved on, I tend to remember the people more than the classes or work itself. Early on, you didn’t have a study group, and socializing with peers was difficult. Did that ever change or get better? Yes and no. I never did study with others, but I did socialize a bit more with peers as I got to know more people at school.

Did you require, and did the university offer, any special accommodations because of your hearing and vision impairments? Did you have any special equipment that helped in the classroom? I used an FM system to hear the professor in class. It’s a system where the prof wears a special microphone and I wear a special receiver tuned to a frequency through a setting on my hearing aid. When on, the FM device allows me to hear the prof as though the prof was sitting next to me (and) speaking directly to me. For textbooks, I used PDF copies of my texts, which my computer would read out loud to me. For exams, I took my exams in a room where I would read the exam on my computer and then dictate my answers to a person sitting next to me.

What advice would you give to individuals with disabilities who may have doubts about whether they can succeed in a higher-education setting? First, remember that the school has confidence in you. They accepted you based on your application and test scores, regardless of what challenges you’ve faced. The school wants you to succeed and wants to help you succeed. In order to help you, they need to understand you and what you need to succeed since no one solution works for every disabled person. This means you need to develop a close relationship with the people who handle accommodations so that everyone can figure out what works and what doesn’t. You need to educate them on the things you need to succeed. Educate your fellow students as well so they can help you as needed and get to know you. If you have all the support you need and enjoy the program you’re in, then there’s no reason you can’t succeed. It’s challenging, but remember, it’s challenging for everyone, not just the disabled.

Source : cjonline.com/news/local/2013-12-07/partially-blind-deaf-washburn-student-graduate-law-degree

Attorney Matthews Bark | “Law Schools Adjust To Lower Enrollments”

Source    : Chicago Tribune
By           : Ameet Sachdev, Chicago Tribune
Category : Attorney Matthews Bark , Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney Matthews R Bark
Attorney Matthews R Bark

Amy Cramer, who finished law school in 2011, was one of the fortunate ones, if you define fortunate as finding a temporary job as an employee benefits consultant for $18 an hour soon after graduation.More than 14 percent of her classmates at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago had not found any job nine months after graduation. Cramer recently joined the ranks of unemployed lawyers when her contract job ended in October.

“I love the law, but being unemployed is very tough on the psyche,” said Cramer, 28. “I don’t know if it’s bad luck or something I’m doing wrong. There’s so much self-doubt in the process.” The job market has been tough for law school graduates for several years. But law schools were slow to react to changing market conditions. They kept growing enrollments, despite fewer jobs. In 2010, a record of more than 52,000 students started law school, according to data compiled by the American Bar Association, which accredits U.S. law schools. Since then, enrollments have fallen nationally amid a dwindling pool of applicants.

Would-be lawyers are thinking twice about spending $40,000 to $50,000 a year in private school tuition to study for a profession that isn’t creating enough new jobs to match the supply of graduates every year. The first to reduce their enrollments were lower-tier schools, according to published reports. But now the pain is spreading up the ranks. National admissions data for the entering Class of 2013 are being compiled by the American Bar Association, but a survey of law schools in Illinois shows sharp declines in enrollment.At Loyola University Chicago, the entering Class of 2013 was one-fourth smaller than the 2012 class. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign enrolled 170 students, which was 28, or 14 percent, fewer than a year ago.

Even elite schools can’t escape the trends. Northwestern University, No. 12 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings, trimmed its 2013 entering class of three-year law students to 177, or 14.5 percent, from 207 the year before. Unless law schools relax their admissions standards, enrollments may continue to shrink, judging by the numbers of people considering getting a Juris Doctor degree. The Law School Admission Council reported that 33,673 people took the law school entrance exam, known as the LSAT, in October, down nearly 11 percent from the same test month last year. The exam is administered four times a year.

The would-be professionals turning away from law school are not fleeing in any obvious direction. For example, interest in graduate business schools waned after 2009 amid a tepid recovery and uncertain job prospects. Applications for Master of Business Administration programs rebounded this year, but much of the increase came from overseas demand, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council.In the face of declining enrollments, the heads of law schools confront financial pressures that many have never dealt with. Schools are forgoing millions of dollars in tuition revenue by shrinking their enrollments. To balance their budgets, some deans have reduced faculty and staff through layoffs and attrition.

At the same time, they are spending limited resources to attract more students and find more jobs for their graduates. They are throwing themselves into curriculum reform and cajoling alums to hire students for either internships or full-time positions.”We’re in a longer-term correction in terms of jobs,” said Harold Krent, dean of the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. “Technology changes, globalization trends, corporate pressures on law firms and tax issues for state governments all have contributed. We have to ensure we continue to be as relevant as we can.”

IIT Chicago-Kent received 2,661 applications for its 2013 entering class, down 31 percent from 2010, when it received 3,854.Law schools face a difficult choice when the applicant pool shrinks. They can keep enrollment steady by loosening admissions standards, but the strategy could endanger their status in the influential rankings by U.S. News & World Report. Or they can preserve their academic credentials, accept fewer students and find ways to make up the revenue shortfall.

In 2012, Krent trimmed IIT Chicago-Kent’s first-year enrollment by 7 percent, from 308 full- and part-time students to 286, and the same number of students matriculated this year. From 2010 to 2013, the school has registered a modest decline in its median LSAT score, to 158 from 161, out of a possible score of 180.Krent said it hasn’t been easy balancing the goals of admitting students who can succeed in law school and pass the bar exam and maintaining revenue. Law school tuition also supports the undergraduate and graduate programs at the Illinois Institute of Technology. “Some people at the university would prefer if we guarantee 300 seats,” Krent said. David Yellen, Loyola’s law dean, said university officials supported his decision to cut the first-year class, agreeing to accept less revenue from the law school.

Source : chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-1201-law-school-declines-20131201,0,5070395.story

Contact DUI Lawyer | “10 Things The U.S. Does Better Than Anywhere Else”

Source     : CNN Edition
By            : CNN – Jordan Burchette, for CNN
Category  : Matthews Bark , Contact DUI Lawyer

US Cheerleaders
US Cheerleaders

(CNN) — Even if it’s not the land of opportunity it once was, the Big Mobility Scooter still has a lot going for it. In fact, there are at least 10 things by our count that you can’t find as good anywhere else on earth. With the caveat that China is on a trajectory to take over at least six of these categories by 2016, we present them without further interruption. Except for this last interruption (interrupting also being something Americans are fantastic at): Be sure to express your wholesale agreement with our list in the comments.

1. Effusive greetings
“Ahoy!” “Aloha!” “Hey!” “Hola!” “Howdy!” “Hiya!” “Ho there!” “Well, look who it is!” “What’s happenin’?!” “‘Sup!” “Yo!” “Hello!”
The variety and vibrancy of the American greeting is unrivaled, upholding a threshold of friendliness that Americans demand, Europeans find onerous and others find perplexing.
Want to slip through somewhere un-greeted?
Forget it.
Whether you’re leaving a hotel, shopping for a pair of jeans or just trying to get around a bystander, someone’s going to pop out from the shadows with a neighborly salutation, the enthusiasm of which may border on deranged.

2. Road trips
If we’re talking about something that can be done while seated, Americans are probably going to excel at it.
Germany likes to lay claim to the world’s first road trip, but having come of age at the same time as the automobile, the United States was custom-built for it. With roadside oddities like Carhenge in Nebraska and the world’s largest ball of paint in Indiana, along with infamous rest areas and national parks (more on those later) dotting America’s majestic roadscape at uniform intervals, you’re never far from the next adventure.
Unless you’re driving through Texas.

3. Derbies
With all due respect to the English city, the U.S. is the home of the derby in all its forms, be it racing, smashing or haberdashing. Originating in the county fairs of the nation’s 1950s backwoods, demolition derbies, like the one held annually in Delaware County, New York, pit hulking early-model autos against one another in contests of Americanly excessive ramming until only one remains functional. On the oval track, Louisville’s Kentucky Derby is a spectacle of horseshoed pageantry, while roller derbies from Austin to Seattle are cataclysms of people-wheeled fury.

4. Beer
Not to keep taking shots at Germany, but there’s only so much you can do with barley and hops. Live a little, Üter! By contrast, American brewers aren’t bound by purity restrictions on their craft, allowing them to push the pint glass with new additives, processes, styles and malt and hops strains moved through the largest number of breweries of any nation on earth. Whether it’s Portland, Oregon’s Hopworks, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Founders, or Asheville, North Carolina’s Wicked Weed breweries, in no country is beer more innovative.

5. Diversity
The U.S. is a microcosm of nearly every world culture, climate, landscape and category of wildlife. (And whatever doesn’t occur naturally gets recreated at Disney.) Beaches extend from Cape Cod to Kaanapali; bayous encircle the Gulf of Mexico; alpine mountains streak the Rockies and Appalachians; rain forests span the Pacific Northwest; deserts stretch across the Southwest. Cougars, wolves, bear, bison and mustangs roam plains and forests; gators, crocs, whales, dolphins, turtles and snakes frequent the coasts; condors, eagles, falcons, flamingos, bats and pterodactyls — just making sure you’re still with us — inhabit the skies. But of course the Melting Pot concept was built on ethnic diversity. Despite the politics of immigration, the U.S. has and will continue to welcome the world’s huddled (and also brilliant) masses, making it as heterogeneous as any nation on earth.

6. Canyons
Geo-diversity has pocked much of the landscape with vast gorges and canyons that create expansive pockets of pure emptiness ringed by the most stunning rock formations, vegetation and slack-jawed tourists imaginable.
Unbelievable until experienced, Utah’s Bryce Canyon is the closest you can get to another planet without tickets on Virgin Galactic.
Then there’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado), Palo Duro Canyon (Texas), Canyon de Chelly (Arizona), Sequioa and Kings Canyon (California), Waimea Canyon (Hawaii) and hundreds more to round out a list so deep and wide that it makes the U.S. the hands-down winner in this category even without mentioning the Grandest one of them all.

7. National parks
Overlooked during the westward expansion of the American frontier in the 1800s, Yellowstone was made the world’s first national park the way you might give the last kid picked for kickball the top spot in the order.
Turns out it’s one of America’s great national treasures, a tradition extended to 400 more areas comprising more than 84 million acres of buttes, plateaus, rapids, coral reefs, caverns, badlands, volcanoes, glaciers, falls, fjords, swamplands, sandstone arches, mangroves, geysers, gift shops and excellent interpretive centers ranging from coast to coast.

8. Eating
Make all the fat jokes you want — seriously, they’re hilarious — but no other nation offers the portions and varieties of culinary experimentation found in the U.S. This year’s gastronomic breakthrough was the cronut, a croissant-donut hybrid introduced by Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. It’s just the latest in a litany of extreme foods that’s yielded curated cupcakes, ramen burgers, sushirritoes, Korean tacos — the only limit will be an eventual shortage of truffles. There’s nothing the home of super-sizing won’t deep-fry, roll in bacon or drown with nacho cheese sauce, proving Americans eat like none other. Just don’t ask them to do math.

9. Sports
Most countries have a national sport. The U.S. has four. (OK, three; you can have hockey, Canada.)
While the world’s most popular sport, soccer, has yet to gain critical traction in the U.S., it also has the burden of competing with the seasonal panoply of baseball, football, basketball and hockey. That’s tough enough without NASCAR, golf and action sports like extreme death gliding and low-orbit cloudboarding or whatever else is nipping at soccer’s heels. Some of the best places to catch a game in the U.S. are Wrigley Field (Chicago) and Fenway Park (Boston) for baseball; Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wisconsin) for football; and Cameron Indoor Stadium (Durham, North Carolina) and Rupp Arena (Lexington, Kentucky) for college basketball.

10. Moving pictures
From internationally beloved TV shows like Breaking Bad and The Daily Show to movies like Avatar and anything the Coen brothers do to viral videos like Harlem Shake and the Kardashian sex tape, America is the world’s dramatic chipmunk.

Source : edition.cnn.com/2013/09/25/travel/10-things-u-s-does-better/

Matthews Bark | “3 ‘Amazing’ Facts About The Stock Market”

Source     : Market Watch
By            : MARK HULBERT
Category : Matthews Bark , Contact DUI Lawyer

3  'Amazing’ Facts About Stock Market
3 ‘Amazing’ Facts About Stock Market

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (MarketWatch) — Does stock-market strength beget more stock-market strength? It’s human nature to think that it does. And the three “amazing” facts that I discuss below are evidence that this implicit belief is very strong right now. But, in true contrarian fashion, the market all too often ends up doing just the opposite of what human nature would have us believe. That’s why huge amounts of money gets invested right before market tops, just as large amounts of cash get pulled out at bottoms.

Keep this in mind as you confront the breathless cheerleading among some bulls right now about the stock market’s recent strength. Here are three of thee “amazing”  facts that the cheerleaders are noting — whose significance is not nearly as bullish as they would have us believe: Amazing fact No. 1: Market has been unexpectedly strong since May Day – This factoid refers to the Halloween Indicator, of course, which is based on the historical tendency for the stock market to turn in its best returns between Halloween

and May Day (the “winter” months). In contrast, the stock market historically has been flat during the other six months of the year — the so-called summer months  between May Day and the subsequent Halloween. Not this year, however. Since the beginning of May, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.39% has gained nearly 5%, leading some bulls to forecast even better returns in the seasonally favorable six-month period that begins this Friday. But there is no statistical support for this forecast. Upon feeding into my statistical software the Dow’s historical data back to its creation in 1896, I found no statistically significant correlation between the stock market’s performance during the summer months and the subsequent winter period.

To the extent there was a correlation, furthermore, it was inverse — a positive summer was more likely to be followed by a negative winter, and vice versa. It wasn’t  statistically significant, so we shouldn’t make too much of this. But I mention it nonetheless because it means that if the cheerleading bulls bothered to look at the
historical record, they would be more cautious than usual — not more bullish. Amazing fact No. 2: Market’s year-to-date 2013 returns have never been negative It turns out that the broad market averages have never registered a closing price this year lower than where they stood at the end of 2012 — a very rare event. But so what? How have stocks performed following past years in which the same has been true? I haven’t seen anyone bothering to answer this crucial question, even though the factoid itself has been widely noted. And I think I know why: The answer is disappointing.

Source : marketwatch.com/story/3-amazing-facts-about-the-stock-market-2013-10-29

Matthews Bark | “Internet Companies Face Tougher Privacy Regulations in EU”

Source     : Fool.com
By             : Associated Press
Category  : Matthews Bark , Contact DUI Attorney

Matthews-Bark Criminal Defense Attorney
Matthews-Bark Criminal Defense Attorney

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers on Monday were set to approve sweeping new data protection rules to strengthen online privacy, and sought to outlaw most data transfers to other countries’ authorities to prevent spying. After Edward Snowden’s leaks about allegedly widespread U.S. online snooping, the draft regulation was beefed up to include even more stringent privacy protection and stiff fines for violations. The legislation is poised to have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies, too.

The rules would for the first time create a strong data protection law for Europe’s 500 million citizens, replacing an outdated patchwork of national rules that only allow for tiny fines in cases of violation. Supporters have hailed the legislation as a milestone toward establishing genuine online privacy rights, while opponents have warned of creating a hugely bureaucratic regulation that will overwhelm businesses and consumers.

The legislation was widely expected to pass a committee vote late Monday. Still, it is likely to be amended later since it also requires approval by Parliament’s plenary and the EU’s 28 member states. Lawmakers hope to conclude the process before the end of their term in May. The legislation, among other things, aims at enabling users to ask companies to fully erase their personal data, handing them a so-called right to be forgotten. It would also limit user profiling, require companies to explain their use of personal data in detail to customers, and mandate that companies seek prior consent. In addition, most businesses would have to designate or hire data protection officers to ensure the regulation is properly applied. Grave compliance failures could be subject to a fine worth up to 5% of a company’s annual turnover — which could be hundreds of millions of dollars, or even a few billion dollars for Internet giants such as Google. “Those companies are making billions from European citizens’ data. So if you want them to comply, you have to give them the right incentives,” said Giacomo Luchetta of the Center for European Policy Studies.

All companies offering services to EU citizens, regardless of where they’re based, would have to comply with the new rules, he added. In response to revelations of the National Security Agency’s online spying activities, lawmakers also toughened the initial draft regulation, prepared by the European Commission, to make sure companies no longer share European citizens’ data with authorities of a third country, unless explicitly allowed by EU law or an international treaty. That means a U.S. tech company handing over data to U.S. authorities, including information on its European customers, might be violating EU law. In practice, the provision would protect European citizens from seeing their data transferred for commercial purposes, but there are practical hurdles and loopholes that, among others, would still allow cooperation on national security matters, said Luchetta.

“If an American company gets a court order to hand over data, they have to comply,” he said. “The U.S. court doesn’t care whether you may be violating EU laws, and at the same time the EU has no power over U.S. court decisions.” Overall, the legislation has been subject to fierce lobbying over the past 18 months, and there are a record-breaking 4,000 proposed amendments to it. If Monday’s vote is delayed, lawmakers will resume their deliberations on Thursday. In a move welcomed by consumer groups and businesses, the regulation also introduces a so-called one-stop-shop approach, meaning companies would only have to deal with the national data protection authority where they are based in the EU, not with 28 national watchdogs.

Consumers, in turn, would be able to file complaints with their national authority, regardless of where the targeted service provider is based. For example that would make it easier for an Austrian consumer to complain about a social media site such as Facebook, which has its EU headquarters in Ireland. Meanwhile, the National Security Agency leaks continued to stir unrest among European policy makers. French leaders appeared angry on Monday upon learning that NSA allegedly recorded 70.3 million French telephone records within a month, and called for a swift implementation of tough privacy rules to govern the tech sector. “It is an important industry, but you cannot develop this industry if there is no personal data protection,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in Luxembourg.

Source : fool.com/investing/general/2013/10/21/internet-companies-face-tougher-privacy-regulation.aspx