European Union wants to regulate WhatsApp and Skype like carriers

European Union wants to regulate WhatsApp and Skype like carriers


That law, introduced in 2009, resulted in websites displaying a banner to visitors from the European Union asking them if they would allow a cookie to be placed in their browser - even though most browsers already offer a way for users to indicate, site by site or globally, whether they will accept such cookies or not.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (whose members have an obvious incentive to cookie and track as many web users as possible), the new rules would "undeniably damage" their business model by forcing users to "more actively deal with constant requests for permission for the use of harmless cookies when visiting websites and using other digital services".

Dautlich said that responsible marketers would welcome the stiffer penalties framework that the Commission has proposed for infringements of e-Privacy rules, which mirrors that which applies under the GDPR. It extends some of the rules governing telecoms operators to so-called over-the-top services, while also allowing telecom companies to use customer metadata - such as the duration and location of calls - to provide additional services and make more money, something they are barred from doing under the current rules.

This is the beginning of the formal legislative process and now the draft is in the hands of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

A copy of the upcoming Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation leaked early in December, but only yesterday has the European Commission acknowledged its legitimacy.

It said privacy would be guaranteed for both the content and metadata in electronic messages. Our draft ePrivacy Regulation strikes the right balance: "it provides a high level of protection for consumers, while allowing businesses to innovate".

Andrus Ansip, vice-president for the Digital Single Market, was quoted as saying: "Our proposals will deliver the trust in the Digital Single Market that people expect. Cookies set by a visited website counting the number of visitors to that website will no longer require consent", it stated.

The first category includes cookies used to remember shopping history, the last position of your scroll bar, UI color preferences, and similar non-privacy related settings. Also seeking users consent every time before sending an advertisement would be very burdensome.

Privacy advocates say the new ePrivacy regulation, which is an updated version of a 1995 directive that allowed for some differences in national law, complements a broad data protection overhaul that was rubberstamped past year and will go into effect in 2018. The proposal is created to protect personal data.

For this reason, ETNO and the GSMA call for legislators to ensure that the final Regulation takes into account new services and that all providers are subject to the same rules.

"The European data protection legislation adopted a year ago sets high standards for the benefit of both EU citizens and companies", said EC justice chief Věra Jourová.

  • Terrell Bush