The Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications (2002/58/EC)

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The Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications (2002/58/EC)


Summary of Changes

The new Directive:

replaces existing definitions for telecommunications services and networks with new definitions for electronic communications and services to ensure technological neutrality and clarify the position of e-mail and use of the internet;

enables the provision of value added services based on location and traffic data, subject to the consent of subscribers (for example, location based advertising to mobile phone users);
removes the possibility for a subscriber to be charged for exercising the right not to appear in public directories;

introduces new information and consent requirements on entries in publicly available directories, including a requirement that subscribers are informed of all the usage possibilities of publicly available directories – e.g. reverse searching from a telephone number in order to obtain a name and address;

extends controls on unsolicited direct marketing to all forms of electronic communications including unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE or Spam) and SMS to mobile telephones; UCE and

SMS will be subject to a prior consent requirement, so the receiver is required to agree to it in advance, except in the context of an existing customer relationship, where companies may continue to email or SMS to market their own similar products on an ‘opt-out’ basis;
specifies that Member States may introduce provisions on the retention of traffic and location data for law enforcement purposes;

introduces controls on the use of cookies on websites. Cookies and similar tracking devices will be subject to a new transparency requirement – anyone that employs these kinds of devices must provide information on them and allow subscribers or users to refuse to accept them if they wish.

Posted in Technology Review.

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