Industry Discussion on Potential Developments Concerning ePrivacy Regulation in Europe

On December 5th EACA attended a discussion on ´The new ePrivacy Regulation – Does the Data Protection Reform Open the Way to a Digital Europe? ´ hosted at the impressive surrounds of the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union (EU). The event, organised by the European Commission, Enterprise Europe Network, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bayern, was an opportunity for experts in the field to discuss potential developments regarding the ePrivacy regulation within the EU.

Jakob Boratynski, Head of Unit “Cybersecurity and Digital Privacy”, opened the panel discussion addressing questions regarding Thierry Breton´s, Commissioner for Internal Market, recent admission that a potential new ePrivacy proposal could be issued by the Commission in the upcoming six months. Progress on the current ePrivacy proposal which was issued in 2017, has been restricted by the Council of the EU due to a variety of issues raised by a range of Member States that have been calling for different revisions of the text. Whilst Mr. Boratynski did not confirm if, or when, a new proposal would be forthcoming, he did state that Mr. Breton is committed to working with individual Member States and the Council in order to make progress. Furthermore, Mr. Boratynski expressed the Commission’s desire to act fast in relation to ePrivacy but that a clear position was required from the Council in order to do so.

Robert Dehm, Information Society and Telecommunications Attaché at the Permanent Representation of Germany to the EU, discussed the various complexities regarding the ePrivacy proposal as well as the unpredictable nature regarding the proposal’s development comparing it with none other than Brexit! Mr. Dehm attributed the lack of progress within the Council to many points of contention arising from the ePrivacy text raised by various Member States. He also clarified that there is no deadline set for the Council to reach a general approach.

Panellists also discussed how the ePrivacy regulation affects the advertising and publishing industries. Kristin Benedikt, Head of Unit Internet, Bavarian State Authority on Data Protection, argued that when it comes to advertising and data protection, we should perhaps look beyond the scope of the GDPR into other areas, such as competition law. Mr. Dehm commented on attempts made towards creating fair regulation for publishers whilst maintaining security concerning private information.

Mr. Boratynski brought the event to a close on an optimistic note, underlining Europe´s status as a global point of reference in relation to data protection and ePrivacy. Mr. Boratynski continued to be optimistic in his forward outlook, noting that perhaps the new European Commission is just what is needed to create progress.

EACA would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the organisers and panellists on an insightful event!

You can read EACA’s statements and position papers on the ePrivacy regulation proposal here: https://eaca.eu/advocacy/position-papers/.

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