Proposal for a Regulation concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2017) 10
Publication Date 10/01/2017
Content Type , ,


Legislative initiative published by the European Commission in January 2017 on the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications.

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The ePrivacy Directive ensures the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, in particular the respect for private life, confidentiality of communications and the protection of personal data in the electronic communications sector. It also guarantees the free movement of electronic communications data, equipment and services in the Union. It implements in the Union's secondary law the fundamental right to the respect for private life, with regard to communications, as enshrined in Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

This review of Directive 2002/58/EC - also known as ePrivacy Directive - was first announced in the Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy, and it aims to provide a higher level or privacy protection for users of electronic communications services and a level playing field for all market players. It also ensures consistency with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The European Commission carried out a REFIT evaluation of the e-Privacy Directive, which stated that the objectives and principles of the framework remained sound. However, it also noted that important technological and economic developments had taken place in the market since its last revision in 2009.

The proposed Regulation was first adopted by the European Commission on 10 January 2017, together with an accompanying Communication. The European Parliament adopted a negotiating position in October 2017. Despite a number of discussions between Member States under different rotating presidencies, the Council of the European Union was not able to agree on its own general approach as of June 2020. The Council eventually reached an agreement on its negotiating position on 10 February 2021.

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Commentary and Analysis
EU Law Analysis, 14/12/2016: Early Christmas present or a lump of coal?: Data retention and the leaked ePrivacy Regulation
BEUC: Press Release, 10/01/2017: New EU plans to beef up consumers’ online privacy
Politico, 10/01/2017: Europe kills the cookie monster
EU Law Analysis, 10/01/2017: A Threat to Human Rights? The new e-Privacy Regulation and some thoughts on Tele2 and Watson
EPRS: Briefing, February 2017: Review of the ePrivacy Directive
White&Case: Article, 08/05/2017: EU regulators welcome stricter rules on cookies and direct marketing
Corporate Europe Observatory, 04/06/2018: Shutting down ePrivacy: lobby bandwagon targets Council
EU EDPS: Blog, 19/10/2018: The urgent case for a new ePrivacy law
Open letter to EU member states from consumer groups, NGOs and industry representatives in support of the ePrivacy Regulation, 3 December 2018
PrivSec Report: News, 02/01/2019: EU e-Privacy reforms hit stalemate
DMA UK: Article, 21/02/2019: What happened to the ePrivacy Regulation?
DLA Piper: Blog, 01/08/2019: e-Privacy Regulation – changes regarding electronic communications and digital marketing
EDRi, 22/11/2019: ePrivacy: EU Member States push crucial reform on privacy norms close to a dead end
IAPP: News, 26/11/2019: How the ePrivacy Regulation talks failed ... again
Statewatch: News, 06/01/2021: EU: e-Privacy Regulation: Council Presidency aims for consensus with amended text
Politico, 10/02/2021: How Europe’s new privacy rules survived years of negotiations, lobbying and drama

EurActiv, 14/01/2016: Commission to propose reform of ePrivacy directive in 2017
EurActiv, 10/01/2017: Telecoms firms and internet services like WhatsApp face tougher new privacy rules
Bloomberg, 10/01/2017: Google, Facebook Face Tighter EU Grip With New Privacy Law
RTÉ News, 10/01/2017: EU proposes greater privacy protection to boost digital economy
Reuters, 10/01/2017: EU privacy proposal could dent Facebook, Gmail ad revenue
The Irish Times, 10/01/2017: Confused about digital privacy? New EU rules plan to simplify it
EUObserver, 11/01/2017: EU proposes tougher privacy rules for online messaging
EurActiv, 24/11/2019: EU countries fail to agree on privacy rules governing WhatsApp, Skype
EurActiv, 03/12/2019: Commission to present revamped ePrivacy proposal
EurActiv, 08/02/2021: Portugal’s plans to conclude ePrivacy saga
Reuters, 10/02/2021: EU countries agree joint stance ahead of WhatsApp, Skype privacy talks
EurActiv, 11/02/2021: Mixed emotions as Council finally adopts position on ePrivacy text

EUR-LEX: SWD(2017)3: Impact assessment
EUR-LEX: SWD(2017)4: Executive summary of the impact assessment
EUR-LEX: SWD(2017)5: Ex-post REFIT evaluation of the ePrivacy Directive 2002/58/EC
EUR-LEX: SWD(2017)6: Executive summary of the ex-post REFIT evaluation of the ePrivacy Directive 2002/58/EC
European Parliament: Legislative Observatory: Procedure File for Proposal on Respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications (2017/0003(OLP))
European Parliament: Legislative Train Schedule: Proposal for a regulation on privacy and electronic communications
European Commission: Proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation
European Commission: Memo, 10/01/2017: Digital Single Market – Stronger privacy rules for electronic communications
Council of the European Union: Progress Report on ePrivacy Proposal (29 May 2020)
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 10/02/2021: Confidentiality of electronic communications: Council agrees its position on ePrivacy rules

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