Open letter: Modernised ePrivacy legislation must protect fundamental rights

Today, 24 April, EDRi and 13 organisations call for robust legislation to complement and particularise the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and call upon the next European Commission to include comprehensive plans for reforming the European Union’s ePrivacy legislation.

By EDRi · April 24, 2024

Read the open letter

In January 2017, the European Commission proposed an update to the 2002 ePrivacy Directive, the ePrivacy Regulation, aimed at establishing new rules governing the confidentiality of electronic communications and the use of cookies and other online tracking technologies. Seven years later, EU member states and corporations have successfully blocked this critical reform, despite the desires of civil society and individuals who openly advocate for enhanced privacy and security in online communications.

However, pervasive and persistent harms persist within the digital sector. If the EU aims to enhance fundamental freedoms and ensure a functional Digital Single Market, updating the ePrivacy Directive is imperative. Therefore, we urge the European Commission to include plans to ensure the protection of the following issues in the next mandate:

  • Enshrine robust provisions to ensure the effective protection of the privacy and security of communications, including mandatory privacy by design and by default standards in both software and hardware.
  • Ban tracking walls that put a price on the enjoyment of fundamental rights.
  • Protect encryption (including end-to-end encryption) and the confidentiality of communications.
  • Put an end to surveillance advertising in favour of privacy-preserving forms of ad targeting such as contextual targeting.
  • Limit the processing of electronic communications data to concrete, strictly defined purposes.
  • Institute robust protections against invasive online surveillance and intrusions into terminal equipment.
  • Uphold the integrity of the Court of Justice’s case law protecting the confidentiality of communications against unlawful state and commercial interference.
  • Encourage collective actions by civil society groups against infringements of the legislation.