E-Privacy Regulation: Trust Remains Key to Data-Economy

“I welcome today’s proposal to strengthen the right to privacy in electronic communications. The choice of a Regulation over a Directive lowers compliance costs for businesses and increases protection for end-users in all Member States. I also salute the extension of the scope to over-the-top services such as WhatsApp, the recognition of the general principles of confidentiality and prior consent, and the many consumer-safeguards regarding unsolicited direct marketing communications and spam. The co-legislators will now carefully scrutinize this text to make sure that the devil does not hide in the many exemptions enshrined in the text, in particular with regards to metadata and content.

For more than 90% of Europeans the confidentiality of their e-mails and instant messaging needs to be warranted (Eurobarometer, December 2016). Regardless of what one does with a smartphone, whether it be using apps, browsing the Internet on public WiFi, sending e-mails or SMS, managing your smart devices at home, saving pictures, you must be in control of your own data. As technology becomes more invasive, consumers’ trust remains the centrepiece of our digital economy and data protection a stimulus for growth.

The key red line is that this legislation must be fully aligned with the General Data Protection Regulation. The use of the same definitions and the reference to the principle of ‘Privacy by Design’ are therefore steps in the right direction. Our new framework is a state-of-the-art data protection legislation that is stoking global admiration and must be complemented by this new initiative, not diluted.”