ePrivacy Regulation Draft Report Released By LIBE Committee

On June 9, the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) released a draft report on the proposed ePrivacy Regulation.

With so much attention paid to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect 25 May 2018, the proposed ePrivacy Regulation has not been getting as much air time as it might deserve. An update of the 2002 ePrivacy Directive is underway and intended to address compliance with the GDPR as well as the technological innovations that have occurred since the last update to the directive in 2009.

The scope of the proposed ePrivacy Regulation is somewhat expanded from the directive to include privacy rights applied to processing data in connection with communications services. While an official draft of the ePrivacy Regulation text has been available since January, there is still a lot that is unknown.

The majority of the report consists of draft amendments to the proposed ePrivacy Regulation. The general tone of the changes proposed by the LIBE Committee were designed to increase privacy protections, including a return to the privacy by default requirements that were in the first leaked draft but subsequently changed when the Commission text was officially released.  They are also attempting to make sure that users are given genuine choices over the use of online tracking technologies, including making respecting Do Not Track requests a binding obligation.

The report concludes in part:

“The rapporteur supports the objective of this proposal of establishing a modern comprehensive and technologically neutral framework for electronic communications in the Union, which ensures a high level of protection of individuals with regard to their fundamental rights of private life and data protection. Yet she considers that some aspects must be strengthened in order to guarantee a high level of protection as afforded by Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the ECHR. The achievement of a Digital Single Market builds on a reliable legal framework for electronic communications that will increase trust of individuals on digital economy and will also allow businesses to pursue their activities in full respect of fundamental rights.”

While the ePrivacy Regulation must be approved by the European Parliament and European Council prior to taking effect, tracking details of this will be important give that the ePrivacy Regulation proposal expands upon the ePrivacy Directive’s scope to cover the new forms of electronic communications and aims to establish a modern comprehensive and technologically neutral framework for electronic communications.