ePrivacy: Europeans call for stronger protection of their online communications

The European Commission publishes today the results of a Eurobarometer survey and a public consultation on ePrivacy, showing that Europeans call for stronger protection, whereas industry and public authorities express more diverse views. According to the Eurobarometer, a large majority of the respondents consider the privacy of their personal information, their online communications and their online behaviour very important. Similarly, the public consultation shows that 83% of citizens, consumer and civil society organisations consider it relevant to have specific ePrivacy rules for the electronic communications sector on confidentiality. The consultations provide valuable insight for the ongoing review of the ePrivacy Directive which the Commission will unveil at the beginning of 2017. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market said: “Europeans want more privacy when they send messages and talk to each other regardless whether it is online or through traditional services. Our aim is to reinforce trust and security in digital services to boost the Digital Single Market.” Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society added: “We want business to take advantage of data, to innovate and at the same time respect people’s privacy. Our proposal will strike a balance between the need for protection demanded by Europeans and flexibility requested by companies.” The review of the ePrivacy Directive will complement the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and will widen its scope to also include services such as internet-based voice and messaging services (“over-the-top” services). The proposal will also simplify the provisions for browser cookies giving more choice to users.