The European Commission has published plans for new legislation to safeguard the privacy of an individual when using electronic communications. The Commission wants to update the current rules to take new technology into consideration. The main changes are:

  • Extending eprivacy to new providers of electronic communications (eg Whatsapp, Messenger, FaceBook etc).
  • Changing the rules on cookies so that users are not bombarded with pop ups asking for consent.
  • Tighter rules on electronic marketing (such as making marketing companies identify themselves using prefixes).

The proposals also state that the Commission intends to be more pro-active in negotiating with other countries to reach “adequacy decisions” which allows the free flow of personal data to that country. They also want to see more use of the other tools in place to allow international data transfers.

The Commission wants to see this legislation in place by the time the General Data Protection Regulations come into force in May 2018. This means that the changes could potentially affect the UK before it leaves the EU. In any event, it is highly likely that the UK will implement this legislation post Brexit if it wishes to continue to trade with EU countries.

The statement from the Commission can be found here.

If you would like to discuss how these changes will affect your organisation, please contact Tracey Wakelam at Exeter solicitors covering Devon, Cornwall and the rest of the UK.