Europeans are definitely concerned about their privacy. No less than eight in ten respondents to the 2016 Eurobarometer on ePrivacy believe that it is very important that personal information on their computer or mobile device can only be accessed with their permission. Seven in ten respondents state that it is very important that the confidentiality of their e-mails and online instant messaging is guaranteed. With its forthcoming ePrivacy Regulation, the European Union seeks to address those concerns.
In the last couple of decades, we have witnessed a revolutionary digital transformation. It has become quite difficult, if not downright impossible for some of us, to imagine a world without smartphones, mobile apps, e-mails, let alone the internet with which it all began. Advanced solutions in the field of automation, robotics, cloud computing, 5G networks, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming a reality.
Digital Single Market strategy
These technological advances, as well as the economic changes that accompany them, have made digital issues a strategic element of the European Union’s economic policy. The Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy, adopted in 2015, presents the European Union’s ambition in the digital arena. As a part of this plan, the European Commission is working on various solutions which aim to remove the existing barriers that hinder Europe's digital growth and protect its citizens during the digital transformation.
ePrivacy Directive: in for a makeover
Issues such as confidentiality of information, treatment of traffic data, spam or cookies are up to this date covered by the current ePrivacy Directive adopted in 2002. However, since its last revision in 2009, the technological alternations and related electronic communications services have significantly evolved. Following the rapid changes and the need for a new legislation, the European Union is currently working on a new ePrivacy Regulation. This will repeal the previous ePrivacy Directive and complement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from 2016, which went into effect in 2018.
ePrivacy Regulation: why bother?
The new ePrivacy Regulation is a European Union proposal for the regulation of various privacy-related topics, mostly connected to electronic communications. It is designed to adapt the regulations to technological progress and the current market realities. It is also intended to complement other regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation. In many respects, however, it will not only change but also tighten up the GDPR rules regarding the use of new technologies. Ultimately, as I’ve mentioned already, the proposed regulation is in fact part of a broader concept, namely the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy (DSMS).
Especially noteworthy is the fact that the new ePrivacy Regulation is self-executing. So as soon as its final version is published, it will become legally binding across all European Union Member States. Therefore, it is important to become familiar with its rules and the changes it will bring for business, given that failure to comply will result in administrative penalties, as in the case of the General Data Protection Regulation from 2018.
ePrivacy white paper: raising awareness
To raise awareness of the upcoming changes to the proposed regulation concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications, Sopra Steria Benelux has prepared a short white paper. In this document, we present you with an overview of the state, essence, and evolution of the new ePrivacy Regulation, which we hope and believe will be a crucial step towards a safe and unified digital market.
Want to find out who will be most affected by the new Regulation and what it will mean for entrepreneurs? Download our white paper: ‘The forthcoming European Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications.