EU opens consultation on personal privacy in telecoms

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The consultation will consider whether Over-The-Top services require the same regulation as mobile operators

A public consultation on rules governing the use of personal telecoms data has been launched by the European Union.

The EU launched the consultation on the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive yesterday (April 11). Since the Directive launched in 2002, it has governed personal data and privacy in the telecommunications sector. The purpose of the reform is to make sure rules on privacy are appropriate, especially when concerning Over-The-Top (OTT) services like WhatsApp and Skype.

Under the current Directive, operators must inform authorities and others concerned about violations of personal data, alongside providing consumers with more information about cookies. The Directive also provides exemptions to protecting personal privacy when national security is at stake.

A statement from the EU reads: “These rules apply to service providers such as traditional telecommunications companies, not all market players, including those providing instant messaging and online telephony services.

“But nowadays, many Europeans use this type of digital services instead of or in addition to their mobile and landline phones. The Commission wants to reassess the scope of the Directive to ensure citizens the same level of protection online and offline.”

The public consultation is open until July 5.

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