EU's new privacy rules should be in line with GDPR, telcos warn

The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association – ETNO, and the GSM association have warned that upcoming EU rules governing how businesses use data could slow down innovation and growth in the industry. 

The proposed updates to ePrivacy rules could also mean businesses such as telecom operators in the EU might no longer be able to use data to improve customer experiences. 

ePrivacy rules, which first came into force at the beginning of the century, are now being revamped to by the EU as part of its Digital Single Market reforms.

The latest draft was submitted by MEP Marju Lauristin, and ETNO and GSMA asked for greater flexibility for telecom companies, to ‘use data responsibly’. They believe the draft is ‘too restrictive’ on the use of metadata and ‘overly focused on consent’. 

They want the draft to be in line with the upcoming GDPR regulations.

GSMA’s vice-president for Europe, Afke Schaart, said consumer trust in the digital ecosystem was ‘critical’, according to European Communications

“The more flexible, risk based approach in the GDPR already provides privacy protection for the same type of data, while creating an environment that will enable innovation," Schaart said.

“The lack of flexibility in the proposed law will distort competition and hinder the industry’s ability to develop new mobile services for European consumers.”

Lise Fuhr, Director General of ETNO, added: “The ePrivacy regulation should not undo what the GDPR achieved. An overly-restrictive approach to ePrivacy would target and discriminate one single sector. This would undermine European innovation without meaningfully increasing the level of protection of our citizens.”

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