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ETNO
European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association

2017

| ETNO

ETNO - GSMA Joint Statement: Protecting consumers while supporting innovation under the ePR

Brussels, 21 June 2017: Today, Marju Lauristin, Member of European Parliament, presents her draft report on the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) to the LIBE Committee. While we welcome some aspects of the draft report, we would like to express our concern as to the ability of the telecoms sector to deliver more innovation, increased societal benefits and economic growth in the context of an overly restricting approach to the ePR.

PDF available here.

GSMA and ETNO outline their concerns following the publication of the LIBE Draft Report

Brussels, 21 June 2017: Today, Marju Lauristin, Member of European Parliament, presents her draft report on the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) to the LIBE Committee. While we welcome some aspects of the draft report, we would like to express our concern as to the ability of the telecoms sector to deliver more innovation, increased societal benefits and economic growth in the context of an overly restricting approach to the ePR.

The telecoms industry believes that citizens’ trust in the digital ecosystem is essential to unleash the societal and economic potential of data. For this reason, we support the continued protection of the confidentiality of communications principle foreseen in the ePR.

MEP Lauristin’s draft report clarifies the scope of the proposed regulation, which is an important step to ensure consumers and businesses encounter consistent legislation. However, the ePR should allow providers of electronic communications services to use metadata responsibly for the benefit of consumers, citizens and society to the same extent that other technology or service providers can under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In this context, we are concerned about the lack of alignment between the ePR and the GDPR. This will result in a lack of consistency in the European data and privacy protection laws and it risks undermining legal certainty for both users and the industry.

By maintaining a double set of rules, the proposed ePR will prevent European businesses such as telcos from offering innovative services, using data to improve customer experience and increase consumer choice. This threatens Europe’s ability to compete on a global scale.

Three policy recommendations from the telecoms industry:

  • Allow greater flexibility to use data responsibly. Innovation and growth in the digital economy depend on the ability to access and use data. The grounds on which the ePR allows network operators to use metadata are too restrictive, overly-focused on consent and may hinder the development of services that benefit consumers, the digital economy and society. To achieve a future proof regulation, the ePR should avoid over-reliance on consent, and allow more flexible grounds for processing built upon principles such as further compatible purposes or legitimate interests, in alignment with the GDPR. This would enable the development of innovative services that benefit consumers and businesses, while maintaining the highest privacy standards.

  • Permit compatible further processing, provided that privacy risks are mitigated through safeguards such as pseudonymization. To align with the GDPR, further processing should generally be allowed if the processing meets the compatibility test in the GDPR’s Article 6(4). This test provides for the need to carefully weigh the interests of the individual, taking into account the context and nature of the collected data as well as the consequences of processing, including whether appropriate safeguards like pseudonymization have been used to mitigate risk. In the context of compatible further processing, pseudonymisation and other safeguards will enable companies to develop innovative new products and services for consumers, while protecting their privacy and avoiding consent fatigue.

  • Same data, same rules. The ePR fails to recognize that the same types of data used in electronic communications services, such as location data, are also used in many other services. This means that the same type of data will be treated differently under the ePR than under the GDPR. Consumers should not be expected to have to distinguish between their rights under GDPR and those under ePR. The telecoms industry underlines the inconsistency and challenges the necessity of introducing stricter and specific rules that undermine the holistic approach already taken by the GDPR.

Afke Schaart, Vice-President Europe at the GSMA, said: “Consumer trust in the digital ecosystem is critical, and we are committed to protecting consumers. The more flexible, risk based approach in the General Data Protection Regulation already provides privacy protection for the same type of data, while creating an environment that will enable innovation. The lack of flexibility in the proposed law will distort competition and hinder the industry’s ability to develop new mobile services for European consumers.”

Lise Fuhr, Director General of ETNO, said: “A harmonized and horizontal approach is good for citizens’ trust and for European innovators alike. The ePrivacy regulation should not undo what the GDPR achieved. An overly-restrictive approach to ePrivacy would target and discriminate one single sector. This would undermine European innovation without meaningfully increasing the level of protection of our citizens”.

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About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.
For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA and @GSMAPolicy

About ETNO
ETNO has been the voice of Europe’s telecommunication network operators since 1992 and has become the principal policy group for European electronic communications network operators. Its 41 members and observers from Europe and beyond are the backbone of Europe’s digital progress. They are the main drivers of broadband and are committed to its continual growth in Europe. ETNO members are pan-European operators that also hold new entrant positions outside their national markets.
For more information, see ETNO’s website at www.etno.eu. Follow ETNO on Twitter: @ETNOAssociation.

Media Contacts

For the GSMA, Olivier Lechien
PR Director, Europe
+32 (0) 479 99 01 63
olechien@gsma.com
GSMA Press Office
pressoffice@gsma.com

For ETNO, Alessandro Gropelli
Director of Communications
+32 (0) 476 94 18 39
gropelli@etno.eu

PDF available here.

Members & Observers - View companies map

  • Albtelecom
  • Proximus
  • Eir
  • Elisa Communications Corporation
  • GO Plc (Malta)
  • Hrvatski Telekom
  • Koninklijke KPN
  • Lattelecom
  • Magyar Telekom
  • Makedonski Telekom
  • Orange
  • OTE
  • Portugal Telecom
  • Síminn (Iceland Telecom Ltd.)
  • Slovak Telekom
  • Swisscom
  • TDC
  • TDF
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefónica
  • Telekom Austria
  • Telekom Slovenije
  • Orange Polska
  • Telenor
  • Telia Company
  • Turk Telekom
  • Vivacom
  • Deutsche Telekom AG
  • CYTA (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority)
  • BT
  • BH Telecom
  • TELEKOM ROMANIA COMMUNICATIONS S.A.
  • POST Group

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