Privacy The revised ePrivacy directive, cookies and behavioural advertising

Data Protection Privacy Lawyers

Data Protection Privacy Lawyers review the revised ePrivacy directive that amends the:

Directive 2002/58/EC on privacy and electronic communications, which will be implemented on the 25 May 2011.

Essentially, the amendments are designed to bring improvement to the transparency and protection of privacy and personal data of Europeans in the online space.

The areas concerned are security breaches, spyware, cookies, enforcement of the rules and spam. The key changes:

1. Crossborder cooperation is improved with the UK information commission.

2. Anybody including an ISP will be able to bring legal proceedings against spammers.

3. Reinforcement of protection against data attributes and interception of user`s communications through (e.g. spyware & cookies) have been strengthened through the opt-in mechanism. In other words, explicit consent must be obtained before a website stores, collects, or uses data relating to users.

4. There is a framework for mandatory notification of personal data breaches. Any communications provider or internet service provider that has a security breach where personal data has been wrongfully disclosed, must inform the data subject if such breach were likely to have an adverse effect on the data subject (e.g. where the data subjects reputation could be damaged, identity theft etc).

Data Protection Privacy Lawyers Self Regulatory Initiative

In an attempt to stave off legislation, the online advertising industry launched a self-regulatory initiative that is to be finalised this April 2011. It will be rolled out over the next 12 months through national industry associations.



According to the NMA website, it was developed by major stakeholders representing advertisers including the Internet Advertising Bureau, a UK trade association for the Internet; the World Federation of Advertisers, the European Advertising Standards Alliance; the Direct Marketing Association and the ISBA.

It also has broad support from the top UK ad networks. according to the NMA website the initiative:

“aims to meet the notion of user consent through transparency and control. Users receiving behaviourally targeted and retargeted ads will be alerted by a privacy icon which, when clicked on, gives information on what behavioural targeting is, how the practice is achieved, and what users can do to opt out of receiving such ads through a central website, Your Online Choices”

 The initiative will have to be approved by all 27 member states of the EU before it can be accepted.

Advertising on the Internet is regulated by the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion 1999 (“the Codes”). The Codes are published and reviewed by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). CAP was set up by the advertising industry to regulate itself. The Advertising Standards Authority was set up as an independent self-regulatory body to administer the Codes.


Policing advertising on the Internet falls to the Advertising Standards Authority.




The revised ePrivacy directive threatens the current self-regulation of the online advertising industry. There is an obvious need to bring the huge risks to privacy brought about by the digital age under control. Private information is routinely unlawfully disclosed to third parties and the use of web applications and software for data profiling is prolific. On the other hand, users also benefit from targeted advertising and the improvement of consumer choice. An exciting time for data protection privacy lawyers

Free Speech Vs Privacy 

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