General

Published | 18 October 2017

ePrivacy Regulation: MEPs shall guarantee data protection in a pluralistic media landscape and not empower dominant US giants

Brussels, 17 October 2017 – The European Committee for Civil Liberties will vote on the report of Mrs. Marju Lauristin (Socialist, Estonia) and the amendments to the draft Regulation on E-privacy.
However, the announced objective of the draft regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications - to reinforce trust and security in the Digital Single Market by updating the existing EU legal framework - is not fulfilled. It will give to the main US technological players full control of consumers’ data. This is in total contradiction with the interest of European citizens and against a free, independent and pluralistic press in Europe.

Press publishers have for a long time built trusted relationship with their readers, especially in the digital environment, and will continue to ensure transparency and informative choice for data processing on their websites. But there is still a high risk that the negotiations on the draft Regulation followed by the vote will lead to the opposite effects:

The draft Regulation will strengthen even further gate-keepers: by preventing the use of cookies on press websites from the browser’s installation, the EU legislators will consolidate the dominance of only few technological players which will have a total control of the whole EU data market. This will de facto exclude European smaller and medium digital players, therefore affecting EU competition.

Individual users’ privacy will not be better protected: on the contrary, the EU legislators will force citizens’ choice towards log-in business models which are much more privacy invasive. It would give the illusion of a higher protection but in fact, users will be asked for giving even more personal data than cookies actually do.

Media pluralism and access to information will have no future: the draft regulation will prevent them from enjoying free access to professional journalistic content from various sources, as free access can no longer depend on the acceptance of cookies. Since most European press titles strongly depend on cookie based advertising, the regulation will impact directly at the heart of press revenues in the digital environment.

On behalf of the press publishing sector in Europe, we urge the members of the LIBE Committee not to take a dangerous route that will not only go against the future of a free and independent press in Europe but also against the rights of individual citizens.

Carlo PERRONE, President of ENPA (European Newspaper Publishers’ Association)
Xavier BOUCKAERT, President of EMMA (European Magazine Media Association)