13 July, 2018

ETNO welcomes the Austrian Presidency’s approach to ePrivacy, asks Member States to support future-oriented rules

Brussels, 13 July 2018 – ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s leading telecom operators, welcome proposals to ensure that the ePrivacy Regulation is better fit for global digital competition, ensuring trust and consistency across legal instruments.

ETNO applauds the incoming Austrian Presidency’s approach to the draft Regulation and urges Member States to stand behind the Presidency’s robust recommendations. This will allow Council to be better positioned in view of finalising talks with the European Parliament before the end of its term.
ETNO believes any law should establish general principles that can apply to specific cases, take full account of a risk-based approach and evolve according to technological developments. Unless we embrace this approach, the future ePrivacy Regulation risks becoming obsolete even before being applicable. Therefore, ETNO warmly welcomes, in particular, the inclusion of the principle of compatible further processing of communication metadata, in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Our Association has long called for legislators to embrace this principle also in the ePrivacy Regulation, as it strikes a good balance between the protection of privacy and confidentiality for citizens and creating benefits for the society through innovation.
In an ever faster-evolving digital market, it is impossible to foretell how consumer preferences, technology and business models will change in the coming years. For this reason, ETNO has consistently cautioned against a short-sighted list of exceptions to the overarching ban on metadata processing, exclusively based on the use cases and the needs of today.
Compatible further processing is a future-oriented mechanism that would grant telecommunication operators and other players the required flexibility in using metadata to develop new high-quality offerings for European consumers, standing the test of time and of technological change for the years to come. Strong safeguards like pseudonymisation, and adherence to the key tenets of the GDPR, will guarantee that the fundamental rights to privacy and confidentiality are fully protected.
ETNO Director General Lise Fuhr said: “The Austrian Presidency’s proposal is a strong signal that a better alignment of the proposed ePrivacy Regulation with the horizontal regime of the GDPR is necessary. The telecom industry fully supports the Presidency in its endeavour and hopes the proposed improvements will help make the regulation truly fit for the digital age and for strong European players in today’s global markets”.

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