Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Questions (87)

James Lawless

Question:

87. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will report on the recent news that EU member states have now agreed on a negotiating mandate for revised rules on the protection of privacy and confidentiality in the use of electronic communications services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13292/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

On the 10th February, agreement was reached by Member States on a mandate to enter negotiations with the European Parliament on the Regulation concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications), colloquially known as the ePrivacy Regulation. Prior to this agreement being reached, discussions had been on-going in Council for over four years, a testament to the file’s complexity.

The ePrivacy Regulation will repeal and replace the existing ePrivacy Directive and aims to makes Europe’s online privacy rules fit for the digital age. It will update the rules in respect of the processing of end-users’ electronic communications data (including metadata); the storage of information on end-user’s terminal equipment; direct marketing using electronic communications services; and, inclusion in publically available directories. The ePrivacy Regulation particularises and complements the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

I look forward to the beginning of the trilogue negotiations on this important file, which my officials will be closely monitoring. Ensuring the privacy of our citizens’ online communications is vital to maintaining their trust in an increasingly digitalised world and at the same time, it is important that any agreement reached on this file is sustainable going forward.

Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 82.