The European Union’s (EU) proposed ePrivacy Regulation aims to secure and ensure privacy in electronic communications. It is intended as an update to the ePrivacy Directive (more popularly known as the “cookie law”) to include modern communications technologies. In addition to traditional telecommunications, the regulation could impact a range of digital services and devices, including digital marketing and even internet of things (IoT) devices. Aside from specifying cookie-related policies and making them more “user-friendly,” the regulation broadens its scope to include machine-to-machine communications (which will impact IoT devices), over-the-top communication services (like free messaging applications), and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) providers (for example, Skype).
The ePrivacy Regulation is part of a bigger reform of EU data protection legislation and is meant to work in tandem with newer regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is lex specialis to the GDPR, which means it will override the GDPR in areas of overlap. It is also intended to be an effective solution to the fragmented set of electronic communication privacy laws across the EU — providing a singular and more consistent set of rules.