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The European ePrivacy Regulation affects B2B relations and obliges companies to adapt all their communications and data treatment

| News | Privacy, IT & Digital Business

Andersen Tax & Legal and Swedish Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Conference organize a round table discussion on the Future European ePrivacy Regulation: New business opportunities

The future European ePrivacy Regulation, which will be directly applicable in all EU Member States, affects both the private individuals whose data it is, and B2B relations and obliges companies to adapt all their electronic communication and data processing to the standard in the online environment and whose ultimate purpose is to protect the user and enable him/her to be the actual owner of their data.

Isabel Martínez Moriel, Senior Associate of Andersen Tax & Legal and head of the Privacy, IT & Digital Business area, has spoken at the round table discussion on the Future European ePrivacy Regulation: New business opportunities, organized by Andersen Tax & Legal and the Spanish-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, with the participation of José Luis Piñar, Professor of Administrative Law, Data Protection of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers delegate and holder of the Google Chair on Privacy, Society and Innovation, and Jesús Aspra, Managing Director of Weborama, moderated by Rafael Ripoll, of counsel of Andersen Tax & Legal.

During the day, it was pointed out that the proposal for a European ePrivacy Regulation published by the European Commission is pending approval by the European Parliament and aims to ensure consistency with the European Data Protection Regulation, with which it shares fines reaching 20 million euros or 4% of the overall turnover.

Isabel Martínez Moriel has argued that the ePrivacy Regulation applies to all electronic communications data and introduces a stricter consent for digital advertising, which any company must be subject to, European or not, providing its services to EU residents and has access to any type of data, whether personal or not.

In particular, the head of the Privacy, IT & Digital Business area underlined the adjustments that will be made to the processing of metadata (i.e. any information relating to the content exchanged or transmitted in an electronic communication and the data used to trace and identify the origin and destination of a communication). In particular, metadata and data obtained for profiling through cookies and online identifiers are now considered as personal data. She also referred to the need for explicit user consent, which is more stringent in the ePrivacy Regulation than in the European Data Protection Regulation and which companies must gather for each of the uses to be made of data. Finally, he explained the legal implications of the installation of cookie blockers by users and the practice of implementing cookie "walls" by operators and content publishers.

For his part, José Luis Piñar has stated that the new regulation follows the Anglo-Saxon model and requires proactive responsibility and the implementation of transparency policies by companies, since they must apply the measures established and demonstrate that they are complied with. The General Council of Spanish Lawyers' data protection delegate referred to the controversy over the treatment of metadata, essential for big data, which is delaying the processing of the standard and pointed to the two debates generated on this point: data processing and explicit consent. In his opinion, the issue clashes with two fronts: that of certain players with interests in the business and the technical and legal problems that arise when regulating, in the same line, content and metadata data.

For Piñar, "the data always belongs to the data owner, although it is possible to distinguish it from the information obtained through the processing of personal data, this is the case of big data tools", to which he added that this information is "pseudonymized, is not anonymous, since it is reversible: the data owner can be identified again". For this reason, he considers it necessary "to think seriously and rigorously, because it is not possible to reach the point where those involved act in a way that seek to find the right way forward".

In this regard, Jesús Aspra stressed that the processing and analysis of data allows for an efficient treatment of them when offering content and advertising, as it facilitates the ability to adapt to the needs of the consumer. At this point, he has indicated that a very restrictive policy on the use of data can lead to a change in the business model of many companies, such as publishers, which should seek revenue in other ways and one of them could be charging for content that would impact the user. 

Finally, the guest speakers concluded that there is a need for a joint effort to avoid going backwards in the use and possibilities which are offered by the Internet, to which Isabel Martínez added that "the industry has to take a step forward in self-regulation of general services and proposals that allow users to understand what data is processed and for what purpose".



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