Thursday, January 9, 2020

PrivacyCheq Supports Articl8 ePR Initiative

PrivacyCheq, together with twelve other companies, is a party to an open letter dated 8 January 2020 urging EU member states to include strong privacy safeguards in the new Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (ePrivacy Regulation).  The letter is an initiative of Articl8, an industry group of pro-privacy companies focused on privacy as a business case and on protecting the fundamental privacy rights of citizens.

In the letter, we express our support for a strong ePrivacy Regulation that compliments the principles and achievements of the GDPR. It is our belief that a tighter legal framework will not only better protect the privacy and confidentiality of electronic communications, but also foster competitiveness and innovation in the Digital Single Market.

Text of the letter is reproduced below:

Open letter to EU member states from Articl8 Members and supporting organisations urging for a privacy focused ePrivacy Regulation 

Stockholm, January 8th 2020

Dear Prime Minister,

We, the members of Articl8 – an industry group of privacy friendly companies – strongly support the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning respect for internet users’ private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications, hereinafter “ePrivacy Regulation”).

However, the latest suggested compromises at the Council are threatening the strong principles and achievements of the GDPR rather than completing it. Extensive, in particular third-party, online tracking is an attack to Internet users’ fundamental rights. Therefore, it must be legally limited rather than expanded.

It seem that our concerns are shared by several Member States as the Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council of the European Union (COREPER) voted to reject the Council draft of the Regulation on 22nd November.

In light of recent case law from the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to the applicability of the General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679) and the ePrivacy Directive (2002/58) with regards to the use of online tracking and profiling technologies, Articl8 members feel it is more important than ever to finalise the draft of the ePrivacy Regulation, including strong safeguards to protect personal data, completing the regulations provided in the GDPR.

We believe that a strong, privacy focused ePrivacy Regulation will foster trust, innovation, and competition in the digital environment. It will increase consumer choice allowing users to select those applications and devices that fit their needs while protecting their privacy and security.

This will ensure the protection of the sensitive data which are part of any communications (both content or metadata), which is especially important for the most vulnerable members of our population (people with disabilities, refugees, journalists and children, among others) and thereby protect the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection as afforded to all citizens under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Articles 7 & 8), as well as various international laws and treaties.

In addition to this, we believe that by having a strong ePrivacy Regulation Europe can improve competition and innovation in the Digital Single Market, moving us away from a market controlled and distorted by data-hungry, dominant companies. By boosting this market, publishers will also benefit from a more even playing field, in which they can have the leverage to negotiate freely with advertisers who do not track or profile their readers.

Because of all of the above, we would like to show our support for an ePrivacy Regulation which contains strong safeguards to protect the privacy and confidentiality of electronic communications, including ensuring the following aspects:

● A ban on “tracking walls”.

● Free and informed consent as the only legal ground to process communications data, due to their sensitive nature.

● Privacy by design and by default in hardware and software.

● A prohibition of undermining encryption by not allowing the use of backdoors in software and hardware.

Yours sincerely,

Alexander Hanff, Managing Director, Articl8

On behalf of the following organisations:
eyeo GmbH
Piwik PRO
Amari Inc

Dale Smith, CIPT