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EU to resume OTT ePrivacy regulation talks

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The European Union is rumoured to relaunch stalled talks around tougher regulation on over-the-top players like WhatsApp and Skype.

Last month, Capacity reported that discussions came to an end when disagreements on issues such as cookie tracking, provisions on detecting and deleting child pornography and consent requirements, stalled the negotiation process. Resulting in the rejection of approval for the draft ePrivacy policy. 

“We will have to probably put on the table a new proposal,” said Thierry Breton, Internal Market Commissioner to EU telecom ministers at talks in Brussels. “I definitely think that, if I hear you, everybody wants to do something but obviously you are not in agreement.”

Under existing EU legislation, the strict privacy protection rules only apply to traditional telecoms providers that provide text messages and voice calls excluding the likes of Facebook, Google and Skype that offer their own online messaging and voice services.

The proposed reform to these rules will strengthen bans on spam sent without user consent via email or SMS and will require the likes of WhatsApp to make data available to law enforcement agencies.

Though the proposed revamped regulations have come under scrutiny from the major technology companies who argue that the reform is already covered under the existing GDPR rules.

“We’ve been wasting time for three years on this discussion, I hope we can make it,” added Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg to his peers. He went on to say that all options are on the table in order to reach a consensus but warned that the EU had better “move fast… European citizens are expecting us to deliver.”

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