Brussels under pressure to slam brakes on ePrivacy law

TEU building 2he European Commission is facing a growing backlash over plans to rush through the new ePrivacy Regulation, amid accusations that its proposed deadline for getting the legislation passed – by May next year – is unworkable.
In April, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office conceded that British firms will be in the dark over changes to the directive for the forseeable future, admitting the deadline will be “tough” to meet.
The legislation – which includes the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations – was last updated in 2009 to provide clearer rules on customers’ rights to privacy. In particular, new requirements were introduced such as on “cookies” and on personal data breaches.
But this latest overhaul, which changes the legislation to a “regulation” – meaning it applies equally to all countries in the EU – goes much further.
The DMA has claimed in its current form, the directive will severely restrict the use of third party data and hold back technological developments in the digital economy. Meanwhile the digital industry has claimed the changes could endanger “the future of the web as we know it”.
Now, a leaked report on the progress of national governments’ negotiations over the legislation has also slammed the timescale, branding it “unrealistic”, adding that “a number of delegations consider [the plans] to be too restrictive and ask for more flexibility”.
Online giant Mozilla also wants the EU to slam the brakes on the process, branding the timeline “overly aggressive”. Mozilla’s legal advisor, Sherrie Quinn, wants Europe to take time “to more thoroughly assess the regulation”.
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) – Europe’s highest data protection regulator – has also recommended further changes to the proposals, as has the Article 29 Working Party, which is made up of all EU members states’ data regulators.
One industry source said: “We don’t even know how GDPR will pan out yet, and what impact it will have on the marketing industry. To try to rush through new digital laws at this stage seems madness. Many of the proposed measures might well be covered in GDPR, but with guidance so slow in being published, who knows?”

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