Brussels, BE – Today, the European Parliament plenary voted to confirm its mandate to launch negotiations on the ePrivacy Regulation with the Council of the EU. The law aims to strengthen users’ right to privacy and confidentiality of communications. The EU Parliament negotiating position will be based on the report adopted by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) last week. The committee included new measures on privacy by default, safeguards for the use of encryption technology, and improved corporate accountability by requiring companies to publish yearly transparency reports.
“Access Now welcomes the Parliament’s decision to move the reform of the ePrivacy Regulation forward,” said Estelle Massé, Senior Policy Analyst at Access Now. “Few MEPs wanted to ‘force’ renegotiations of the report to introduce loopholes to undermine users’ rights. Today’s result prevented this dangerous outcome.”
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 our 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 protections against online tracking.
In January 2017, the EU Commission proposed a new ePrivacy Regulation which was 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.
“Despite the industry lobby attempt to derail the negotiations, the Parliament chose to support users’ rights and now has a solid mandate to continue working. Access Now is pleased about this important step,” added Fanny Hidvegi, EU Policy Manager at Access Now.
The result of this process is a positive step, but work continues. The text is now in the hands of the Council of the EU for member states to discuss and develop a joint position before entering into the “trialogue” process with the other main institutions.
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Senior Policy Analyst