Privacy groups lobby EU to crack down on Web companies

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They claimed there is "overwhelming support" for federal privacy protection standards in the United States, but that Congress has been unable to consider legislation because of industry opposition.

"The European Union must act to help set a global standard protecting the fundamental right to privacy for citizens and consumers," the groups wrote.

The European proposal would create a permanent regulator with the power to fine companies for mishandling personal information 

The proposal would prohibit certain Web tracking and data collection practices without the users' consent. Users would also have the right to require companies to delete the information collected about them.

In a letter to the EU last week, the U.S. government warned that the proposals could "stifle innovation and hamper growth."

U.S. officials said the United States and the Europe share the desire to protect consumers' personal information, and noted that the Obama administration is already working to implement voluntary industry standards for privacy protection.

They urged the EU to "look more towards outcomes that provide meaningful protection for privacy and focus less on formalistic requirements."