The European Union may be set to issue new data protection rules on January 25th. Reuters obtained a draft cppy of the new rules, which would impose strict guidelines on internet companies like Facebook when it comes to users' private information as well as fines if a company violates those rules. One of the more important pieces is a requirement that companies notify the EU if user data has been stolen, but the rules also cover the "right to be forgotten" and data portability so that users can ensure they can export their information easily.
Although the new rules will be proposed on the 25th, it will take some time for the legislation to work its way through the EU's bureaucracy — and even then the rules likely won't go into effect until 2014 or 2015. Between now and then, the regulations may face resistance from some member states, and they are already facing resistance from Facebook. That's no surprise as under the proposed setup, if a company violates the rules, it's possible that the EU could fine it up to one percent of its global revenues.
Update: The proposal is now officially published.