Insights European Commission launches Public Consultation on the Evaluation and Review of the e-Privacy Directive.

The Commission is seeking stakeholders’ views on the current text of the e-Privacy Directive (2002/58/EC) as well as on possibly making changes to the existing legal framework to make sure it is up to date with the new challenges of the digital era.

On 6 May 2015, the Commission adopted the Digital Single Market Strategy, which announced that, following the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation, the e-Privacy rules would also be reviewed.

The Commission says that the review of the e-Privacy Directive is “one of the key initiatives aimed at reinforcing trust and security in digital services in the EU with a focus on ensuring a high level of protection for citizens and a level playing field for all market players”.

The review will be preceded by a Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), which aims to evaluate the performance of the current legislation against criteria such as efficiency, effectiveness and EU added value.

The Commission is now consulting stakeholders on both the retrospective evaluation and possible changes to the current e-Privacy Directive.

The Commission will use the feedback from the consultation to prepare a new legislative proposal on e-Privacy, which is expected by the end of 2016.  Without prejudice to the outcome of the REFIT evaluation, the Commission says that several policy issues have in fact already emerged as potentially needing to be addressed.  These include: (i) ensuring consistency of e-Privacy rules with the General Data Protection Regulation; (ii) updating the scope of the e-Privacy Directive in light of new markets and the technological reality; (iii) enhancing the security and confidentiality of communications; and (iv) addressing inconsistent enforcement and fragmentation at national level.

The consultation runs until 5 July 2016.  To access the consultation, click here.