ePrivacy Directive

Definition & Meaning:

The ePrivacy Directive, officially known as Directive 2002/58/EC, is a legal act of the European Union designed to protect individuals’ private life in the digital age.

It complements the broader General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by specifically focusing on the confidentiality of electronic communications and the handling of personal data in the telecommunications sector.

For example, it governs how your internet service provider treats your browsing history or how websites use cookies to track your online activities.

This directive mandates that businesses obtain your consent before storing cookies on your device or accessing information already stored on your device.

This is why you often see pop-up messages on websites asking for your permission to use cookies. The aim is to give you more control over your personal data and how it’s used online.

The ePrivacy Directive also covers the security of your electronic communications.

Service providers must ensure that your emails, instant messages, and other forms of online communication are kept confidential, except under certain conditions outlined by law.

For instance, your consent or specific legal authorization may allow for the processing of your data. Furthermore, the directive applies rules on unsolicited marketing, often called spam.

Companies must have your prior consent to send you marketing emails, which gives you the right to opt out of receiving further marketing communications at any time.

The ePrivacy Directive is currently in the process of being updated to the ePrivacy Regulation, which aims to align more closely with the GDPR’s stringent standards for data protection.

This update is expected to strengthen privacy rights further and ensure a high level of protection for users across the digital environment.