Press Release – FEDMA Regrets Missed Opportunity to Further Discuss of ePrivacy Regulation in European Parliament

26 October 2017 – Today, the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, confirmed the mandate for negotiations on the ePrivacy Regulation. The mandate received a short majority with 318 votes against 280 and 20 abstentions, illustrating strong divisions among political groups.

“It is a missed opportunity for the European Parliament to have further discussed the ePrivacy Regulation, and provide amendments which would have brought more balance to the text. The LIBE report includes some very strong provisions which could cause serious harm to both European businesses and consumers. In particular, the requirement of a prior opt-in consent for B2B marketing will be detrimental to the economy. It will prevent competition and make it much harder for new businesses to enter the marketplace. We are disappointed that the report of the European Parliament wasn’t able to find a balance between protecting citizen’s privacy and development of the digital economy”, stated Chris Combemale, FEDMA’s Co-Chair.

MEPs from the ECR and EPP groups requested the vote on the mandate for the entire plenary after a split vote on the report presented by rapporteur MEP Marju Lauristin in the LIBE Committee. Despite various forward looking amendments discussed over the summer, the compromised version of the report includes many restrictive provisions, which could crucially impact the direct marketing industry, as well as advertising, media, digital services and future innovation.

“The ePrivacy regulation is the opportunity to create a suitable digital environment by including all six bases for data processing. Unfortunately, the LIBE report is focused solely on consent and omits any mention of legitimate interest, instead opting for a very strict legal framework for the direct marketing and data driven advertising sectors. This would bring ePrivacy in line with the GDPR and under its accountability principle allow businesses to make their own assessments of the appropriate process they would like to use. The report’s current stance will no longer allow European digital and media companies to provide free access to information and services through advertising revenues, which will hurt both businesses and citizens”, said Dr. Sachiko Scheuing, Co-Chair of FEDMA.

FEDMA is looking forward to continue contributing to the discussion with both the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.