38 businesses and organizations urge European Governments to break ePrivacy deadlock

by | Dec 3, 2018 | Brave Insights, GDPR, Policy, Privacy

Today, Brave and a coalition of almost 40 businesses and organizations urge European Governments to break the deadlock on the ePrivacy Regulation in an open letter. 

Tomorrow, Ministers will hold a key meeting at which the ePrivacy Regulation will be discussed[1]. We, and many businesses and leading NGOs recognize the need to reform the ePrivacy regime to protect businesses, consumers, and citizens. Without reform, business will operate in an uncertain legal framework, and key security protections may also be neglected. Yet, despite repeated privacy scandals, this reform is currently stalled. 

The eyes of the world regard Europe. European data protection is emerging as a de facto global standard. A community of nations that accounts for more than half the world’s GDP have introduced or are now contemplating the introduction of GDPR standards.[2] 

However, the European privacy and data protection regime remains incomplete. If ministers fail to agree clear and necessary protections for the security of communications and devices, the light of Europe’s example will be dimmed. Reforms elsewhere, including the potential for a federal general privacy law in the United States, may be extinguished. 

We urge the TTE Council is break its deadlock, and build upon the work of the European Parliament. 

The privacy protections of the ePrivacy Regulation are important to business and to users, and Brave is committed to their realization. In July, Brave wrote to the Council of Ministers to support the draft ePrivacy Regulation’s “Privacy by default” protection, and to prohibit “cookie walls”. In September, in Euractiv, we exposed the misleading research that lobbyists working for the data brokering and adtech tracking industry had sent to European lawmakers in the hope of convincing them to abandon the ePrivacy Regulation’s new privacy protections. Today, we at Brave are pleased to collaborate with a broad community of businesses and organizations that urge clarity for business and decency for users. 

We signatories are innovative digital companies, including Brave, WeTransfer, Tresorit, Qwant, together with privacy and consumer organizations such as Privacy International, European Digital Rights Initiative, BEUC, the Open Rights Group, and the Panoptykon Foundation. The full list of our colleagues who signed this letter is below. I am particularly grateful to Estelle Masse of Access Now for facilitating collaboration by the organisations and businesses who signed this letter. 

Author: Dr Johnny Ryan.

Media contact: 

Catherine Corre 
+1 650 787 4770 
catherine@brave.com

Open letter to EU member states from consumer groups, NGOs and industry representatives in support of the ePrivacy Regulation

December 3rd, 2018

Dear Minister,

We, the undersigned organisations, support the much-needed efforts to reform Europe’s ePrivacy legislation. The reform is essential to strengthen individuals’ right to privacy and confidentiality of communications across the EU as well as rebuilding and reinforcing public trust and security in the digital economy.

As representatives of consumers groups, NGOs and industry, we are concerned by the lack of progress of the Council of the EU towards finalising a General Approach on the draft ePrivacy Regulation. We urgently call on you to reach an agreement, so that the legislative process can continue without undue delay.

Ever since discussions on the reform were launched nearly two years ago, the Council has made very little progress. This weak progress is happening despite the clear and urgent need to strengthen privacy and security of electronic communications in the online environment, in the wake of repeated scandals and practices putting people’s rights at risk and undermining the image of the industry as a whole.

The reform of the ePrivacy framework is necessary to deliver effective confidentiality and security of modern online communications, to ensure clarity of the legal framework, and to restore public trust in the digital economy. A strong ePrivacy Regulation represents an opportunity for EU businesses and it will support privacy innovation in the Digital Single Market. The current surveillance-driven business model of a few large players is not only distorting the advertising and other online markets but also severely undermining the fundamental rights of people living in the European Union and endangering our democracy. Undermining or further slowing down the reform at this stage would send the wrong message to people and industry: they expect the EU to protect their rights and interests against practices that undermine the security and confidentiality of online communications. It is high time to act.

As you meet tomorrow to discuss the reform, we urge you to conclude the negotiations to deliver an upgraded and improved ePrivacy Regulation for individuals and businesses. We stand ready to support your work.

Yours sincerely,

Industry 

  • Brave
  • WeTransfer
  • Kantara
  • Lavabit
  • Piwik PRO
  • ProtonMail
  • Qwant
  • Startpage
  • Startmail
  • TeamDrive
  • Tresorit
  • Tutanota
  • ValidSoft

Civil society and consumer groups 

  • Access Now
  • ApTI – Association for Technology and Internet
  • BEUC – The European Consumer Organisation
  • Bits of Freedom
  • CILD – Coalizione Italiana Libertà e Diritti Civili
  • Chaos Computer Club
  • D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais Dataskydd.net
  • Digitalcourage
  • Electronic Frontier Norway
  • Electronic Frontier Finland
  • Epicenter.works
  • European Digital Rights
  • Fitug
  • Frënn vun der Ënn
  • Homo Digitalis
  • Hermes Center
  • Initiative für Netzfreiheit
  • IT-Pol – IT-Political Association of Denmark
  • IuRe
  • Open Rights Group
  • Panoptykon Foundation
  • Privacy International
  • Vrijschrift
  • Xnet

Notes 

[1] Meeting of the Council of Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Ministers of EU Member State Governments, known as the TTE Council.

[2] EU, Britain (post EU), Japan, India, Brazil, South Korea, Argentina, Malaysia, and China, for civil and commercial use of personal data.

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