CookieLaw Blog September 16, 2014

Cookie Law to be Reviewed in 2015

The EU ePrivacy Directive, which gave rise to the current cookie laws in the UK and rest of Europe, is scheduled to be reviewed by the European Commission in 2015.

This was revealed last week after the new Commission President elect, Jean-Claude Juncker published the Mission Letters written to his Commissioners.

The task is expected to fall to Günther Oettinger, Germany’s representative in the Commission, whose title is expected to be ‘Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society’.

The appointment of Oettinger has already been publicly criticised by the German Green MEP Jan Albrecht, who was instrumental in getting parliamentary agreement to a text of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (DPR). Albrecht says that Oettinger is ‘a man of classical media’, with no social media presence prior to his appointment and no experience of digital issues.

Albrecht also accused Oettinger of being influenced by the interests of big companies in his last Commission portfolio where he was in charge of energy policy.  Given reports of massive lobbying by the US tech giants over the wording of the DPR, this could become a big problem for Oettinger in his new role as well.

However, those wanting to see the scrapping of the cookie laws are unlikely to get their wish.  The review of the ePrivacy Directive really becomes necessary as a result of the overlap with the DPR.  It will only take place after that piece of legislation is finalised in the first part of 2015.  Many of the elements of the DPR, particularly in relation to online profiling, are likely to come into conflict with some parts of the ePrivacy Directive – which is what I expect will be the focus of the review.

And if the cookie law does get revised as a result, it seems more than likely it will be with more emphasis on consumer privacy protections not whilst aiming to be less focussed on particular technologies.

Whatever happens, you can be sure that we will be here, helping our clients through the transition, as we have been doing for the last few years.

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