Members of European Parliament (MEPs) in the civil liberties committee voted in favor of strengthening the European Union's (EU) data protection laws. The move paves the way for negotiations with EU countries over the implementation of the policy, which has not yet been made into legislation.
The parliament's vote comes after MEPs staged a series of inquiries into revelations that the United States has been spying on European Union citizens, creating tension between the two blocs.
"The vote by the European Parliament's leading committee is a strong signal for Europe. It paves the way for a uniform and strong European data protection law that will cut costs for business and strengthen the protection of our citizens: one continent, one law," said Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner in a statement.
The initial blueprint for the laws, the first reform since 1995, was set out by the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, in early 2012. New technology and the boom of social media have led the EU to table reforms that will create a single legal framework across all countries in the 28-nation bloc.
Nearly 4,000 amendments have been tabled by MEPs including increasing the fine to 5 percent of annual worldwide turnover of a company or 100 million euros, whichever is greater, from the 2 percent proposed by the Commission.