Web users will get the right to be forgotten
Embarrassing, inaccurate or simply personal data will have to be deleted from the internet and company databases if consumers ask, under new European laws.
The move will mean sites such as Facebook or Twitter will have to comply with users' requests to delete everything they have ever published about them online.
It will also mean consumers will be able to force companies that hold data about them -- such as Tesco's Clubcard -- to remove it.
Irish web users and consumers will be at the heart of the new changes because internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft are based here.
The changes will also include a new EU power to fine companies up to 2pc of their global turnover if they breach rules.
Commentators and lawyers have warned that in the case of large-scale hacks, informing millions of users that their data is at risk could impose an unreasonable burden on firms, and risks dissuading the development of innovative services.
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, however, claimed her "proposals will help build trust in online services because people will be better informed about their rights and more in control of their information".