EU Authorities Recommend E-Privacy Directive Revisions

    Aug 10, 2016

    New rules are needed to supplement and complement the obligations of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in order to protect the privacy of electronic communications, according to the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). The groups released their respective opinions on July 25 regarding the review of Directive 2002/58/EC on privacy and electronic communications (e-privacy directive).

    WP29 “supports the EC’s [European Commission’s] recognition of the need to have specific rules for electronic communications in the EU,” the group stated in its opinion. “While the GDPR is a detailed legal elaboration of Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter) on personal data protection, Article 7 of the Charter specifically protects the confidentiality of communications. This human right equally deserves a detailed legal elaboration. The new legal instrument must supplement and complement the obligations of the GDPR in order to specifically protect the security of electronic communications.”

    “We need a new legal framework for ePrivacy, but we need a smarter, clearer and stronger one: we need more clarity but also better enforcement,” the EDPS stated in its opinion. “We need it to ensure the confidentiality of our communications, a fundamental right enshrined in Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.”

    Both opinions recommend that the scope of the e-privacy directive be extended to all forms of electronic communications irrespective of network or service used and that updated rules protect the confidentiality of users on all publicly accessible networks. In addition, the opinions call for:

    • Tracking and monitoring consent
    • Strengthening the current consent requirement for traffic and location data, and unsolicited communications
    • Enhancing transparency regarding government access requests through periodic reporting by law enforcement authorities

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