In vote on ePrivacy, EU civil liberties committee makes improvements for users’ rights

Brussels, BE—Today, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament adopted its report on the ePrivacy Regulation which aims at strengthening users’ right to privacy and the confidentiality of communications. The committee has included new measures on privacy by default, safeguards the use of secure encryption technology, and improves corporate accountability by requiring companies to publish yearly transparency reports. The committee however lacked ambition in developing protections against tracking.

“This vote is an important step as we move toward adoption of a strong ePrivacy Regulation, with the capacity to secure human rights for millions of people,” said Estelle Massé, Senior Policy Analyst at Access Now.“While the report is not perfect, Access Now congratulates the LIBE committee for its valuable and necessary work to protect the fundamental right to privacy in the digital age.”

The ePrivacy legislation has been in the books since 1997, setting out the rules for protecting our right to private life and the confidentiality of communications in the EU. It has already been reformed several times, but the European institutions are now updating the law to harmonise it with the General Data Protection Regulation, which will be applicable from May 2018. A second aim of the reform process is to enhance the level of protection for users’ rights.

In January 2017, the EU Commission proposed a new ePrivacy Regulation, which was a welcome first step in the reform. The text then moved to the EU Parliament’s four committees. Three of these committees were responsible for providing advice to the forth, the LIBE committee, which was tasked with preparing the report that represents the Parliament’s position. The result of this process is a positive step, but the work continues. The text is also in the hands of the Council of the EU for member states to discuss and develop a joint position before entering into the “trilogue” process with the other main EU institutions.

“We call on the EU member states represented in the Council of the EU to take into consideration the vital safeguards for privacy in the LIBE report and improve protections against online tracking,” added Fanny Hidvegi, EU Policy Manager at Access Now. “We stand ready to work with the Council of the EU and all institutions in trilogue to ensure the adoption of a strong ePrivacy Regulation for the more than 500 million users in the EU.”

For more information on the ePrivacy Regulation see: