ePrivacy is crucial in the digital era we live in. Any regulation in this area needs to be pro-innovation and future-proof. The compromise package on the ePrivacy Directive presented in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs has failed to meet these requirements. This is why the EPP Group did not support the Report today.
Michał Boni MEP, the EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur on the e-Privacy proposal, explained: “The confidentiality of communications is a fundamental right of EU citizens and there is no doubt that we need to protect it. However, it is equally important to acknowledge that data processing, with respect for fundamental rights and necessary safeguards, is essential for digital innovation and for the business opportunities of European companies, which provide millions of jobs throughout the EU. Data processing is in the public interest. It enables us to, for example, detect child sexual exploitation material online or prevent the spread of epidemics through identifying areas where such risks occur. Such processing cannot be conducted if the rules presented today enter into force. This is why the Report voted in committee today was not acceptable for us.”
“Despite differences in our positions, I appreciate the cooperation with other political partners throughout our negotiations. We all tried to compromise and find alternative common solutions. Unfortunately, it was not possible in the end. However, the negotiations on the new ePrivacy rules are not finished. We must continue to cooperate in the trilogue negotiations with the Member States. The EPP Group will continue to fight for the restoration of balance between privacy, security and innovation. European citizens should be allowed to benefit from both a high level of privacy as well as innovative products and services based on non-privacy intrusive data processing. We will work towards solutions which respect fundamental rights and which do not undermine the General Data Protection Regulation”, added Boni.
The revised ePrivacy rules take account of the important technological and economic developments in the electronic communications sector in the last years. This Report, however, goes far beyond what is needed for preserving the privacy of users online. It demands stricter limitations for data processing than the recently-adopted General Data Protection Regulation. The Report not only restricts the possibility to process metadata for compatible purposes or in the legitimate interest of the provider, it also prohibits so-called tracking walls which publishers need to generate revenue through targeted advertising, while providing open access to their content. The Report also requires ‘privacy-by-default’ settings for software which will put internet browsers in the position of gatekeeper to the detriment of smaller European companies by basically disabling the usage of cookies.