Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications

Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications

The EU’s new ePrivacy Regulation has been in the pipeline for sometime but making little headway. The European Commission proposed its "Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications" at the start of 2017, aiming to replace the EU’s current ePrivacy Directive and put in place an important pillar of the Union’s Digital Single Market Strategy in order “to reinforce trust and security in the Digital Single Market” and compliment GDPR.

The EU Parliament were quick to adopt the policy, but the legislation has since been stalled, although there is now hope we see this by the end of 2019.

Extensive negotiations on the legislation attempts to compromise stakeholder desires, however these can only commence once ministers have reached an agreement.

One of the more interesting discussions recently surrounds consent, one lawyer publicly stating "There has been a lot of back-and-forward on permissible grounds for accessing electronic communications data other than consent. That has been the sticking point from the beginning. This is a big problem because it is important to make it right, given that the regulation will affect the data flows on most IoT devices and could also cover connected cars,” for example.

Cookie control again is further frustrating the process, but having witnessed the new features released by Mozilla and Google for browser-level cookie control, we suspect there is at least a good chance this original stipulation may be still present; eliminating site-level cookie banners. We know that of course, the lobbying groups for publishers and programmatic ad retailers, amongst others,  will be working hard to maintain the status quo. Also as expected, Germany are pushing for the strongest possible protections. As we see things, the adtech industry has taken far too many liberties, bordering on abuse of people's privacy. The market will change and will either return to relevant adverts in specific publications, or, advertisers will have to engage with people on a consensual basis, build a relationship and “digitally date” prospects and customers in order to learn more about them and service personalised content.

The upcoming six-month presidency with Finland at the helm is about to begin.

“Smart connections for sustainable growth” will be the motto of the incoming presidency and Finland commits itself to wide consultation with business, the public and other stakeholders in order to achieve that goal and complete the work started over two years ago.

The issue is, as fast as lawmakers agree on aspects, technology continues to breed exposing more issues which require legislation to protect consumers. AI and connected cars are the most notable, as fast as Tesla with ludicrous mode accelerates, this pales in comparison to the rate of technology growth which requires robust, future-proof legislation; which was indeed the issue with the current e-PR.