HomeInsightsEuropean Commission publishes preliminary findings of consultation on review of e-Privacy Directive (2002/58/EC).

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The Commission has published a summary report on its preliminary findings from its consultation on the evaluation and review of the e-Privacy Directive.

The Commission says that a large number of responses came from citizens (38.5%) and more than a quarter of responses came from Germany, followed by the UK and Belgium.

According to the preliminary findings, 83% of the individuals and civil society organisations that took part in the consultation agreed that there was a clear added value in having specific privacy rules for the electronic communications sector to ensure the confidentiality of electronic communications.  In addition, 76% of individuals and civil society respondents believe that the scope of the rules should be broadened to cover so-called over-the-top service providers (OTT) when they offer communications services such as VoIP or instant messaging.

However, 76% of these groups also said that the e-Privacy Directive has not, or has, but to a limited extent, achieved its objectives of ensuring full protection of privacy and confidentiality of communication.  This was attributed to its scope being too limited, its rules leading to differences between Member States and poor compliance and enforcement.

Industry and public authorities were more positive that the e-Privacy Directive has achieved its objectives.  However, 42% of industry respondents are against the scope of the rules being broadened to cover OTT service providers when they offer communications services such as VoIP or instant messaging.

The review of the e-Privacy Directive is one of the key initiatives proposed under the Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy.  The Commission says that it committed to reviewing the EU’s privacy rules for electronic communications in order to “reinforce trust and security in digital services, to ensure a high level of protection for people and a level playing field for all market players”.  The Commission expects to publish its final report on the consultation in the autumn.  To read the summary report, click here.

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