Legislative procedure ongoing: The Council of European Union and its version of the planned ePrivacy Regulation.

von Zafeiroula Panagiota Vlachou

Background

The European Commission, in April 2016, launched a public consultation in order to gather opinions of different stakeholders in regard to the future of Directive 2002/58/EC (ePrivacy Directive). The ePrivacy Directive concerns the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector.

Almost a year later and after the publication of the consultation results, the Commission in January 2017 released a draft proposal for a Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications (hereinafter ePrivacy Regulation), which will eventually replace the ePrivacy Directive. The proposed reform aims to align with the overhaul of the EU data protection framework, especially the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be applicable as of May 2018, and eventually achieve maximum harmonization in regard to data protection laws across Europe.

In general, the proposed ePrivacy Regulation includes changes such as the extension of the scope covering any company that processes personal data in the context of delivering electronic communications. In that way, not only “traditional” telecommunication providers but also Over-The-ToP (OTT) providers such as WhatsApp, Skype, etc. are being covered under the Regulation. Similar to the “old” ePrivacy Directive, rules on communication content and metadata, provisions for cookies and spam are part of the proposed ePrivacy Regulation.

Council’s First Approach

Following the European legislative procedure, the Council of the European Union (hereinafter Council) released [September 8th] its very first draft version of the ePrivacy Regulation. The Council focuses only on the operational part (provisions) and leaves out the Recitals.[1] According to the Council, the purpose of this first draft is merely to outline specific issues for further examination in light of discussions that will be held in the upcoming WP TELE meetings ...

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