EU Parliament wants strong data protection for WhatsApp & Co

ePrivacy Regulation

Created at 19.10.2017

PRESS RELEASE – Bruxelles, 19 October 2017

The European Parliament's Internal Affairs and Justice Committee have today approved the mandate of the European Parliament to negotiate with the Council on the ePrivacy Regulation on the protection of communications data. The mandate, approved by the majority of MEPs, calls for high standards of privacy, confidentiality and security in electronic communications across the EU, including SMS, telephone and services such as WhatsApp and Skype. Jan Philipp Albrecht, the European Parliament's rapporteur for the basic data protection regulation and spokesman on domestic and judicial affairs for the Greens/EFA group, welcomes the focus on consumer protection:

“The European Parliament has placed a welcome focus on keeping consumer protection high. We need to ensure high standards of protection of sensitive communications data and a level playing field for all communications providers in the EU market.

„With few exceptions, internet companies and communication providers should only be able to use the data of users with their consent*. Users must be able to trust that their surfing and communication behaviour will not be evaluated or passed on.

„Despite major concessions, some conservative MEPs refused to compromise, prioritising the profits of large internet companies over fundamental rights to data protection and privacy.

„Consumers want strong data protection for their communications. Many European tech firms have already realised that they can be ahead of Silicon Valley in the future if they put a strong focus on confidentiality and data protection rules. This makes it all the more important that the new ePrivacy Regulation finally provides them with a level playing field and a genuine EU-wide digital single market.“

*Exceptions only apply to statistical measurements of user behavior and to ensure IT security by the communication providers.

Background:

The President of the European Parliament, Mario Tajani, is expected to announce the position of the Committee on Internal Affairs and Justice at the plenary session from 23 to 26 October 2017, thus giving the mandate for negotiations between the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission ("trilogue"). Once the Council has also presented its position, negotiations can begin.

Conservative’s attitude of refusal is shady

ePrivacy regulation

Created at 18.10.2017

PRESS RELEASE – Bruxelles, 18 October 2017

On the radical opposition of the European Parliament’s People´s Party Group against EU-wide harmonized data protection rules for electronic communications such as telephone calls, SMS and services such as WhatsApp and Skype which are proposed with the ePrivacy regulation, Jan Philipp Albrecht, the European Parliament's rapporteur for the General Data Protection Regulation and Spokesperson for Justice and Home Affairs for the Greens, comments: 

"The Socialist, Green, Liberal and Left Groups have offered the Conservatives far-reaching compromises. However, the EPP Group is following the radical views of a few parliamentarians who, as a direct industry lobby, are campaigning against the protection of communication data and thus for a massive reduction in data protection.

"More than two-thirds of consumers and a whole range of internet companies in the European Union are calling for a stronger protection of communications data, while the Conservative’s European Parliamentary Group represents solely the profit interests of large US corporations and a few industrial associations and opposes the interests of consumers. It therefore intends to release communication data for other commercial purposes without consent.

"The attitude of refusal is utterly shady and the leadership of the EPP Group should quickly free themselves from the clutches of a few radicals who have already shown with the General Data Protection Regulation that they are not interested in a reasonable compromise for a uniform European legal situation. Uniformly high standards would be a great opportunity for the EU digital economy, which can already score in competition with Silicon Valley with its strong rules on confidentiality and data protection for its Internet services.

"I invite the reasonable Conservative Members of Parliament to vote in favour of the balanced compromises on the e-Privacy-Regulation in the forthcoming votes, despite of their Group's position."

Background:

Tomorrow (Thursday, 19 October) MEPs of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) will vote on the Parliament's position on the Commission's proposal for the ePrivacy regulation. By voting, MEPs give the mandate for the forthcoming negotiations with the Council. The Conservatives reject the compromises proposed by rapporteur Marju Lauristin (Socialist Democrats), Greens, Liberals and the Leftists. Even without the Conservative's votes, a majority is foreseeable for the compromise text and the negotiating mandate.

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