European Union Parliament Wants to Restrict Privacy of WhatsApp, Google, Skype, and Similar Services

From an IAJGS Public Records Access Alert:

On Thursday, October 19, the European Union Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) voted to bring online messaging and email services such as WhatsApp, Google and Skype under the telecoms privacy rules which will restrict how the services may track users. Currently only telecoms are subject to the ePrivacy law. The vote was 31 to 24.

The press release from the EU, calls for a ban on “cookie walls” which blocks access to a website when someone does not agree to his or her data being used. Users will be asked to opt-in to allow websites to place cookies on their browsers. Cookies are placed on web surfers’ computers and contain bits of information about the user. The new restrictions also require clear approval by the individual for tracking or “snooping” on devices through public hotspots or wi-fi shopping centers. Websites will also be forbidden from preventing users from accessing their content if they do not consent to being tracked, “Privacy by default “settings would also become standard for all software used in electronic communications.


Needless to say this is controversial as exemplified by the vote in the committee there is controversy on the new ePrivacy rules. Additionally, it is opposed by news and online services as they are data-driven as funded businesses. “Content that is given away for nothing will ultimately be worth nothing.”

Approval is still required by the European Commission and the national governments, and
To read the press release see:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20171016IPR86162/stronger-privacy-rules-for-online-communications

To read more about this see: https://www..reuters.com/article/us-eu-privacy/eu-lawmakers-agree-to-strengthen-privacy-rules-for-whatsapp-skype-idUSKBN1CO2OO

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