Council of the EU Presidency Publishes Latest ePrivacy Proposal

The latest revisions to a European Union plan to safeguard privacy and confidentiality in electronic communication would update a provision on metadata processing and delete one on browser privacy settings.

The Council of the EU, newly under Austrian leadership, published proposed revisions July 10 to the draft e-Privacy Regulation ahead of a scheduled Telecommunications and Information Society working party meeting July 17, where officials will discuss the changes.

The ePrivacy Regulation is still a work in progress. The regulation, when it is finalized, would apply to traditional phone communication providers, along with internet-based messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

The looming electronic privacy and confidentiality regulation would replace the EU’s ePrivacy Directive. The rules would compliment the General Data Protection Regulation, which took effect May 25.

The revisions primarily center on Articles 6 and 10 of the draft regulation.

The proposed change to Article 6 introduces the possibility for “further compatible processing of electronic communications metadata.” The draft calls for the eventual regulation to be “more future-proof,” providing flexibility for developments in emerging areas like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

The proposal also suggests the deletion of Article 10 “and the respective recitals.” The provision relates to privacy settings offered on software that permits electronic communications, such as browsers.

The language from Article 10 proposed to be deleted says that the software should contain the option for users to prevent third parties from storing information on a device or from processing information already stored on the device. The proposed deleted language also says that when installed, the software should tell the end user about privacy setting options and clearly explain how to change these settings.

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