The EU is working on new privacy rules. Last week we asked you to speak out on three important points: tracking, privacy settings and consent. The vote was today. But did your MEPs listen?
1. Get rid of cookie-walls
We asked for the right to use the internet without being tracked across websites. At the moment, if you don't accept tracking cookies, you're often denied access to websites. This is wrong. Forced consent is not consent.
Today it was agreed that providers won't be allowed to deny you access simply because you don't want to be tracked. The text is very clear on this:
“This Regulation should prevent the use of so-called “cookie walls” and “cookie banners” that do not help users to maintain control over their personal information and privacy or become informed about their rights.”
2. Make privacy the default
We asked that privacy-enhancing settings in browsers and apps would be turned on by default.
Today it was agreed that settings in your apps and browser that enhance your privacy, do indeed have to be turned on by default. And if you use your settings to signal that you don't consent to certain information being used, companies have to listen. So if a website for instance doesn't listen to your browser's "Do Not Track"-signal, you can take the provider of the website to court.
3. Don’t allow loopholes
The proposal contained a loophole that would allow third parties to gather data about you without asking for your consent. We asked for more specific language in order to get rid of this loophole.
This still hasn't been properly addressed. For instance, if this text becomes law it will be possible for companies to track you in the physical world through your devices. And although the proposal states that this is only allowed for purposes of analytics and special conditions will apply, we're still not convinced this possibility cannot be abused.
There's room for improvement, but we're very pleased with the results. Especially when you take into account how strong the lobby is of those wanting to chip away at citizens' rights. Today was a good day, because today we saw a vote in favor of the privacy, security and freedom of European citizens.
Has the battle been won?
Not yet. This all started with the European Commission writing a proposal for new privacy rules for the communications sector: “ePrivacy”. The European Parliament needs to form an opinion about the text and come up with a counter proposal. The group of people in Parliament responsible for making that happen, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), agreed today on what that counter proposal should be. They will now ask the Parliament to back their proposal. Once that has happened, the next step is negotiations between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council.
We'll need you to speak up again soon!
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