EU to tighten privacy standards for marketing communications

Codes of conduct that apply to traditional telecoms operators will also cover new communications services such as Gmail, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage, under newly proposed EU regulations.

These EU regulations seek to "... increase online protection while opening up new business opportunities". 

Following the introduction of this legislation on 25 May 2018, metadata obtained from marketing communications – time of call and location, for example – will need to be anonymised or deleted if targets have not given consent, unless the data is required for billing purposes.

The proposal also bans unsolicited communication by any means – be it email, SMS or phone call – if users have not given their consent. 

Member States may opt for a solution that gives customers the right to object to receiving voice-to-voice marketing calls by registering their number on a do-not-call list. 

In accordance, marketing callers will need to display their number or use a special prefix that indicates a marketing call.

New rules will also give customers more control over their cookie settings, making it simpler to accept or refuse the tracking of cookies and other identifiers in case of privacy risks. 

With a huge 92% of Europeans believing it is important that emails and online messages remain confidential, these new regulations appear to be in demand. 

Andrus Ansip, VP for the Digital Single Market, said: "Our proposals will deliver the trust in the Digital Single Market that people expect. I want to ensure confidentiality of electronic communications and privacy. 

"[The regulation] strikes the right balance: it provides a high level of protection for consumers, while allowing businesses to innovate."

Learn more about the legislation here.