Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Sections
You are here: Home Breaking news Euro-MPs address new online privacy rules

Euro-MPs address new online privacy rules

Euro-MPs address new online privacy rules

Image © ktsdesign - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - A European Parliament committee is working on new privacy rules which would take account of new practices such as internet-based messaging and allow users better control of their privacy settings.

The Parliament is targeting May 2018 for adoption of the new privacy rules, which take account of new practices such as internet-based messaging and allow users better control of settings such as browser cookies.

Nine out of 10 Europeans believe it is important that the confidentiality of their emails and instant messaging is guaranteed, according to a 2016 Eurobarometer survey. In addition, eight out of ten say it is important that tools for monitoring their online activities are only used with their permission.

The challenge is for legislation to keep up with technological developments, says Marju Lauristin, the MEP responsible for steering the rules through Parliament.

In January the EU Commission published a proposal saying that strict EU privacy standards for electronic communications should apply not only to traditional telecoms companies, but also to new providers of communications services, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype and Gmail.

Proposed changes would make it easier for users to accept or refuse cookies, so that they don't have to click on a notice asking for cookie consent every time they visit a website. Protection against spam would also be boosted.

The May 2018 target coincides with the date the EU's new general data protection regulation enters into force.

MEPs on the Parliament's civil liberties committee discussed the plans with experts during a hearing on 11 April.

They welcomed the proposals, but called for stronger privacy safeguards for children active online. There was also concern about 'unintended consequences' for publishers such as local online newspapers in terms of advertising, and that massive opt-out of cookies could make it difficult for companies to offer free services. The plenary vote on the proposal is expected in October.

Further information, European Parliament

Procedure file

Information about EU data protection and privacy laws (April 2016)

European Commission webpage on cookies


Document Actions