Brussels, Belgium—Today, the representatives of the EU states have rejected the text presented by the Finnish Presidency on the ePrivacy
Regulation. With this vote, the ePrivacy reform could stay at a standstill for many months or even be withdrawn by the
EU Commission, effectively putting an end to it.
EU states have been working on this reform since January 2019 but have failed to find an agreement on it, by and large
showing little political will to work on a crucial reform for digital rights in Europe. Meanwhile, the European
Parliament concluded its work in October 2017 and has been waiting ever since to initiate negotiations with EU states.
Despite the many problematic aspects of the ePrivacy text rejected today, EU states should have (and still can) formally
adopt their opinion to start negotiations with the European Parliament.
"Today’s vote puts the future of the ePrivacy reform at significant risk. In the aftermath of Cambridge Analytica, EU
states had an opportunity to provide people with greater privacy protections but simply did not. This is a tremendous
missed opportunity to complete Europe’s human rights agenda for the digital age," said Estelle Massé, Senior Policy Analyst at Access Now.
The EU has had an ePrivacy legislation in place since 1997. The proposed reform aimed to update the law to harmonise it
with the General Data Protection Regulation, strengthen privacy rights, and enhance protections against online tracking.
Far from these objectives, EU states carved so many loopholes into the text that it was no longer consistent with the EU
Charter of Fundamental Rights. The text introduced limitations on the application of the rights to privacy and
confidentiality of communications while giving states the ability to implement data retention mandates.
"The ePrivacy Regulation aims to strengthen users’ right to privacy and create protective measures against online
tracking. Instead, EU states turned it into a surveillance toolkit," Massé added.
Despite the severe shortcomings of the ePrivacy text, state representatives can still make all necessary improvements to
bring the text back in line with its original goal to protect users’ privacy. We urge them to do so and stand ready to
contribute to this effort.
"Today’s rejection should not be a signal that the reform cannot happen. Instead, states must go back to the negotiating
table and deliver what was promised to EU citizens: stronger privacy protections," Massé said.
For more information on the ePrivacy Regulation see: