The European Commission has published the summary report on evaluation of the ePrivacy Directive.

The review of the ePrivacy Directive is one of the European Commission's key initiatives aimed at reinforcing trust and security in digital services in the EU under the Digital Single Market strategy.
The purpose of the consultation is to gather feedback on the performance of the ePrivacy Directive since its implementation in 2002, and to seek views on potential reform.

The public consultation on the evaluation of the ePrivacy Directive was closed on 5 July 2016 after 12 weeks and involved citizens, consumer associations or user associations. civil society organisations, businesses. industrial associations, public authorities and research and academia.

The preliminary findings show that:

  • Most of the respondents (76%) said that the e-Privacy Directive has fallen short of its objective of ensuring full protection of privacy and confidentiality of communications. This was attributed to its scope being too limited, its rules leading to differences between Member States, and insufficient compliance and enforcement.
  • A large majority of individual and civil society respondents (83%) agreed that there is value in having special privacy rules applicable to the electronic communications sector. The picture is different for industry respondents, with less than a third agreeing that special rules were needed.
  • 76% of individuals and civil society respondents, but only 42% of industry respondents, believed that the scope of the ePrivacy Directive should be broadened to cover the so-called over-the-top service providers (OTT) when they offer communications services, such as VoIP or instant messaging.
  • As for cookies, 77% of citizens and civil society respondents said that businesses should not have the right to prevent access to their services if users refuse the storing of cookies on their terminal equipment. However, around the same percentage of industry respondents disagreed with this statement.

The Commission is now carrying out an in-depth analysis of the replies to the public consultation and the full report will be published in autumn 2016. The results will feed into a new legislative proposal on ePrivacy which is expected by the end of 2016.

Click here to read the full summary report by the European Commission.

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