Press Statement – IAB Europe: ePrivacy Trilogues Offer Chance To Ensure Broadly Accessible Online Content & Services

10 February 2021, Brussels, Belgium — Today, the EU Member States agreed on a negotiating mandate for the ePrivacy Regulation proposal, which enables the Council to start discussions with the European Parliament on the terms of the final text. The agreement constitutes a major milestone toward getting an updated regulation in place. IAB Europe welcomes this progress, and the prospect of a productive trilogue negotiation over the coming months. 

Digital advertising remains the major revenue stream financing Europe’s free and diverse press and media. It accounts for 81% of media digital revenues in the Union, enabling citizens to  access trusted and high-quality content and services.

A productive and successful trilogue phase should yield a final text that provides strong privacy protections and enables media and other online content and services to continue to rely on an advertising revenue stream. In its first reading of the proposal, completed in 2017, the European Parliament proposed banning conditional access in a way that would grant users a right in law to consume all media and other website content for free, in effect expropriating publishers’ work. It should be self-evident that such an approach would undermine the sustainability of media and other services that consumers use every day, leading to a race to the bottom in relation to information quality and more content and services being moved behind paywalls adding to unhealthy polarisation between income groups. IAB Europe hopes that the new Parliament will take a more balanced approach that builds on the strong foundation provided by the GDPR.

As the EU institutions prepare for the trilogues, IAB Europe would respectfully highlight the need to take good account of both the GDPR and the large body of interpretative guidance and case law that has emerged since that Regulation entered into force in 2018. It is dismaying to see the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) suggesting a full ban on targeted advertising to address the problem of data being used for advertising purposes despite having been collected for non-advertising purposes. Such behaviour is already demonstrably illegal under existing law. Similarly, the EDPS call for restrictions on what data may be processed for targeted ads or disclosed to advertisers or third parties is difficult to understand, since such restrictions already exist in the GDPR, where e.g. sensitive category data require a specific legal basis that the most widely-used legal compliance standard in the industry, the Transparency & Consent Framework, does not enable.

 

For more information, please contact:

Greg Mroczkowski, Director, Public Policy – mroczkowski@iabeurope.eu

Helen Mussard, Chief Marketing Officer, IAB Europe – mussard@iabeurope.eu

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