ePrivacy Directive to be revised | DMA

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ePrivacy Directive to be revised


The ePrivacy Directive is the piece of legislation that informs the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).

PECR gives people specific privacy rights regarding electronic communications. The legislation covers marketing calls, emails, SMS and faxes.

The revision of the ePrivacy Directive will mean changing the PECR legislation. It is likely that the Directive will become a regulation and so it will apply equally throughout the EU with little room for national variance.

For example: Email, SMS, fax and automated messages require opt-in consent under the Directive but live telemarketing calls can be opt-out. It is up to the member state to decide whether they require opt-in or opt-out for telemarketing. The consultation asks whether this is the right approach. The industry will need to robustly defend the UK system and demonstrate its benefits in order to preserve it.

The consultation seeks to assess whether the ePrivacy Directive has achieved its aims, the original mission being to harmonise national provisions and ensure an equivalent level of protection for consumers regarding the processing of their personal data for electronic communications.

However, with the recent adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is the bedrock of personal data protection in the EU, is the ePrivacy Directive even necessary? While it is unlikely it would be scrapped altogether, its objectives could change significantly.

Furthermore, the Directive will have to work in tandem with the GDPR and so the two pieces of legislation must be compatible. It will be a tricky period while the UK implements the GDPR but remains unsure about future rules for electronic communications.

There are other questions over whether legislation should apply to social media and whether it is covered by the opt-in or opt-out mechanisms.

The DMA will lobby actively in Brussels to ensure that – as with the GDPR - we achieve a piece of legislation that strikes the right balance between the interests of businesses and the rights of consumers.

The consultation documents are available here.

Submit any comments you may have to the DMA’s external affairs manager, Zach Thornton, via email Zach.Thornton@dma.org.uk by Tuesday 21 June 2016.

The final deadline for submissions to the EU Commission is Tuesday 5 July 2016.

You can find more information about the ePrivacy Directive here.

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