MEPs back stronger privacy rights for consumers online

PRESS STATEMENT - 19.10.2017

The European Parliament committee in charge of a draft law on online privacy voted to protect the confidentiality of consumers’ communications. They want that consumers must give their consent before companies can monitor their online activities.

In particular, MEPs decided that:

  • Processing of electronic communications data – for instance location data – and access to consumers' digital devices is generally not allowed unless a consumer gives his or her consent.
  • Default settings in software that allow electronic communications, including access to the internet, must protect consumer privacy from the outset.
  • Companies cannot deny access to their website or service if a consumer does not authorise to track them online, when this is not necessary for the provision of the service.

Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), commented:

“Surveys show a vast majority of people want that tools for monitoring their online activities should only be used with their permission. Today MEPs have sided with consumers instead of giving in to industry pressure to track our every step online.

“Consumers should not be forced to give up their privacy when they visit a website, send an email or purchase something online.

“It's alarming that the online companies who claim to be the trendsetters and the engine of the digital economy cling to an advertising business model based on snooping on people. It is a great step that the European Parliament today has put consumers in the driving seat again.”

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Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

The final law will be decided in negotiations between the European Parliament and Member States.