Don’t lose sleep over EU ePrivacy, DMA tells UK firms

eu referendum 2The DMA has dismissed the re-emergence of the EU ePrivacy Regulation, following 18 months in the Brussels’ wilderness, claiming existing laws are more than adequate for the future of UK data protection.

Last week, it emerged that following an agreement within the EU Council, the legislation will move to the next stage of trilogue negotiations between the EU Council, Commission and Parliament.

Whether UK firms will have to adopt the changes remains to be seen, although some argue that this will be a requirement of the adequacy agreement, set to be granted by the Commission to enable the continuing free flow of data between the EU and the UK.

Even so, the DMA seems convinced that British companies should not be losing any sleep over the ePrivacy Regulation, which was last updated in 2009.

The trade body said: “This is the first piece of EU data protection legislation that will be implemented after Brexit. While the UK supports an adequacy decision and continued close ties with Europe, the UK does not have to adopt the ePrivacy legislation.

“The DMA will examine the final text when it appears but, from initial scoping, [we are] of the opinion that this is not a necessary piece of legislation and that the UK GDPR (tailored by the Data Protection Act 2018), is a robust framework for the data protection sphere going forward.

The only issue the trade body could see was that the UK may want to revisit other legislation like PECR – which is included in ePrivacy – to ensure it is “reflective of the current legal and regulatory layout”.

However, the DMA’s European sister body, Fedma, has warned that strong divisions among EU countries still persist and that the draft proposal includes many restrictive provisions, which could crucially impact the direct marketing industry, as well as advertising, media, digital services and future innovation.

In particular, Fedma states, excessive legal constraints will be directly felt by European SMEs which are already struggling due to the pandemic, while trying to survive in the increasingly data-driven marketplace.

The industry body added: “In this context, we believe that the purpose of the ePrivacy Regulation and the opportunity it represents must be kept in mind throughout the upcoming trialogues. More coherence and synergies with the GDPR’s strong safeguards and risk-based approach, as well as with other legislative initiatives currently in the EU pipeline, including the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, are therefore fundamental in order to make the 2020s Europe’s Digital Decade, as envisaged by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“With this in mind, Fedma is looking forward to continuing contributing to the discussion with both the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.”

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