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EC PROPOSES STRICTER PRIVACY RULES
The European Commission (EC) announced (10/01/17) that it is proposing new legislation to update the current rules, aiming to strengthen users’ privacy and reinforce trust and security in the ‘Digital Single Market’.
These proposals will align with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations, which was adopted last year and which companies need to comply with by May 2018. The European digital agenda also includes a strategic approach to the international transfers of personal data in the global digital economy.
Running in parallel to these proposals is the draft ePrivacy Regulation, which the EU claims ‘will provide a high level of protection of people’s private life, while allowing businesses to innovate.’ The main benefit for business will be having a single set of rules applying across the whole of the EU.
As ePrivacy Directive adopted in 2009 only applies to traditional telecoms operators, the new rules will incorporate new providers such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Gmail, iMessage and Viber.
The new rules will simplify cookie settings, allowing users to be more in control and making it easier to accept or refuse the tracking of cookies and other identifiers. It is proposed that consent isn’t needed for non-privacy intrusive cookies, which improve the value exchange.
Encouragingly the proposals will ban unsolicited electronic communications – email, SMS and, in principle, also by phone calls, if users haven’t given their consent. One option is to give users the right to object to receiving voice-to-voice marketing calls, for example by registering their number on an exclusion list. Marketing callers will need to display their phone number or use a special pre-fix that indicates a marketing call.
Ian Twinn, director of public affairs said: “The proposed reforms to the EU privacy law are broadly advertiser friendly. The Commission's attempt to clear up the legal confusion over the detection of an ad blocker is a step in the right direction. Some of the reasons why users use ad blockers include intrusiveness, using up data on mobiles and not liking adverts. The internet funding model is under threat. Part of our responsibility and media owners is to insure users understand the content they see is paid for in part by advertising.
We are at a crossroad, publishers either put their content behind a paywall or content is subsidised by advertising. Advertisers should also work hard to redress the concerns raised by people using ad blockers.
The proposed Regulation will allow users to make informed decisions on whether they want to opt in for higher or lower level of privacy. It will allow the users to make an informed choice. Responsible advertisers’ value transparency so do users, this will enhance the trust between advertisers and users.”
The EC hopes that their proposals are adopted by 25 May 2018, when the General Data Protection Regulation kicks in.
Notes to Editor
Digital Single Market
A Digital Single Market for Europe: Commission sets out 16 initiatives to make it happen
Proposal for a Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications
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