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Review of Data Protection Rules: the industry perspective and proposals to better protect consumers

 

Nine months after the adoption of the EU Data Protection review package, many things have been said and written on this evolving and hot topic.

 

The e-communications service providers strive to deliver a consistent privacy consumer experience, therefore ETNO and GSMA Europe members have been jointly working in order to prepare a set of briefing papers on the proposed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that you can access here.

 

As a general perspective,  ETNO and GSMA Europe support the choice of the legal instrument, a Regulation, as it will contribute to achieving harmonization within the EU and to creating a consistent experience for all consumers across the EU, no matters to where the consumer belongs, applying the concept of territorial harmonization.

 

ETNO and GSMA Europe also support the territorial scope of the proposed GDPR, the same rules shall apply to all services offered to European citizens. EU citizens’ personal data shall be granted the same level of protection, regardless of the geographical location of the service provider, applying the concept of “same services, same rules”.

 

Precisely, within the ongoing review process, it is necessary to tackle a third element, the service neutrality, in order to achieve a comprehensive framework technologically neutral, future-proof and flexible enough to allow the development of new services in Europe while maintaining Europe’s high standards in the protection of personal data.

 

However, ETNO and GSMA Europe consider that the issue of service and technology neutrality has not been sufficiently addressed yet. The co-existence of a double set of rules, the e-Privacy Directive and the future GDPR, undermines the objective to achieve technical and sector neutrality and results in negative effects for businesses and consumers.

 

This was the issue of a Seminar organized by ETNO and GSMA Europe on last October 16th in Brussels with the participation of Lara Comi, Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for the Internal Market Committee on the proposed General Data Protection Regulation, and Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)

 

ETNO and GSMA Europe stressed the need to address the inconsistencies between the ePrivacy Directive and the proposed Regulation in order to achieve a level playing field amongst all actors of the value chain and to ensure a better protection for consumers when using digital services in the future.

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