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Progress on E-Privacy (ePR) Legislation

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

The Romanian presidency of the Council of Ministers had promised to move forward on the controversial e-privacy legislative pack, and it has presented a reworked version on 13 March in the Telecoms Working Group of the Council. The main changes introduced to the Parliament's text concern privacy settings in the browser, the role of regulatory authorities.

The most interesting "proposed changes" are

  • Processing of data does not only mean personal data (we discussed this back in 2018) – this answers to most business' worries that they do not know what data should they care for... the answer is: all data treated.;There is a new notion introduced "direct marketing calls", which means direct marketing voice-to-voice calls and calls made via automated calling and communication systems for the purpose of direct marketing.

  • Industry platforms (like FEDMA) are asking for a new impact assessment, taking into consideration the latest technological developments. There are discussions also about the technological neutrality of the proposal, which is not really neutral.

For further information on the ePR, click here.

Critiques of the ePR

There is worry that EU policymakers run the risk of breaking the Internet of Things (IoT) with this new regulation if they do not properly clarify that the ePR should not apply to most IoT devices. As it stands now, the ePR would prohibit all unnecessary data processing to providing a service and would require explicit user consent in all cases. By not clarifying what types of M2M transmissions fall under the regulation, the EU does not specify that the new regulation covers only services that enable communications between people. There is fear that without this clarification, the new regulation could further limit EU digital innovation.

What next?

There is a proposal before the Council of the European Union to exclude M2M services from the ePR, except where they enable interpersonal communication.

Otherwise, the file is expected to make it to the COREPER (Council of Ministers higher level forum) by June.If things go as planned, the Romanian presidency hopes to close the file before July. The new Parliament will have to give its blessings, which may not be automatic.



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