06 January 2021
Four years after the European Commission published its proposal for the e-Privacy Regulation, member states are still unable to agree on a position for negotiations with the European Parliament. The latest attempt to reach a consensus comes from the Portuguese Presidency of the Council (in post from January-June this year), which has circulated a document to member states in which it is "proposing to simplify the text and to further align it with the GDPR. "
The tardiness of the member states has been a source of frustration for civil society organisations and privacy activists. In October 2019, EDRi and four other groups underlined the "urgent need for a strong ePrivacy Regulation in order to tackle the problems created by the commercial surveillance business models," and condemned the fact that:
"the Member States, represented in the Council of the European Union, still have not made decisive progress, more than two and a half years since the Commission presented the proposal."
On 10 January, it will be exactly four years since the proposal was published. It remains to be seen whether the efforts of the Portuguese Presidency will bring the member states closer to an agreement - and, crucially, how any such agreement will be received by privacy and human rights activists.
The Portuguese Presidency's new text: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications) (5008/21, LIMITE, 5 January 2021, pdf):
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