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New ePrivacy Regulation

September 3rd, 2018

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has now been in force since May this year but there’s also a new ePrivacy regulation around the corner.

GDPR has given individuals a greater level of control over their personal data, both online and offline, with organisations having to obtain consent for the use, sharing and storage of such information.

However, we’ve heard of a new privacy regulation becoming part of EU law, with rules on electronic communications.  The new regulation is called ePrivacy and it targets, among other areas, the right to confidentiality and data privacy on all electronic communications. This includes emails, texts, the internet, WhatsApp, Skype, online messaging, VoIP, the Internet of Things (IoT), apps, online advertising networks and telecommunications. Phew!

Sometimes known as the cookie law (the law that governs the use of cookies on websites).  This ePrivacy regulation will introduce new rules for communications content and communications metadata that will mean that organisations must ensure the confidentiality of all electronic communications and prevent surveillance from third parties.

In the wake of the recent data scandals, it should mean that companies such as Facebook are no longer allowed to store information on communications between its users – Yes!

The ePrivacy regulation is set to replace the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive 2002, and is expected to come into force sometime this year.  According to a recent report, organisations are likely to have a one-year transitional period to become compliant.

There is some overlap between the two regulations but the key difference between ePrivacy and GDPR is that GDPR covers the handling of personal data in all forms, while the e-Privacy regulation covers online communications more specifically.

ePrivacy is likely to require additional compliance, and like GDPR, ePrivacy regulations will involve heavy fines for non-compliance.

It will shake up some industries, particularly advertising, marketing, and the media, as marketing communications to individuals will be prohibited without prior consent, meaning some organisations will have to re-think their advertising campaigns and marketing!

As with GDPR, ePrivacy’s impact, and heavy fines, will not be limited to companies based in the EU. Not exactly welcoming news when we’ve all come to terms with GDPR – so watch out for this one!


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