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EU e‐communications industry calls for harmonised and effective data protection for the benefit of innovation and consumers


15 May 2013


EU Priorities 2020

Brussels, 14 May 2013 – The new EU data protection rules should be effective and clear but also flexible enough to allow companies to innovate and consumers to benefit from new services, underlined ETNO, ECTA, GSMA and Cable Europe today on the occasion of a joint industry event hosted by MEP Seán Kelly, and with the participation of European Commission Vice‐President Viviane Reding.

MEP Seán Kelly said: “The General Data Protection Regulation must offer a level playing field for all sectors, both in the online and offline world. As lawmakers, we must work to ensure that the provisions of e‐privacy and GDPR do not conflict each other and that a principle of technology and service neutrality is implemented effectively”.

Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, said: "In a world where the exchange of personal data is part
of our everyday life and is the bread and butter of companies, we have to think about how to strike the right balance between protecting citizens’ privacy and making it
easy for companies to innovate and do business. The Commission answered these questions with the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation. The message is clear: reliable, consistently applied rules make data processing safer, cheaper and inspire users' confidence. Confidence in turn drives growth. I am convinced that data protection is the business model of tomorrow."

It is essential that the new EU Data Protection Regulation strikes the right balance between data protection and creating economic and social opportunities and
benefits from technology and data according to key trade associations representing Europe’s e‐communications industry.

Europe’s e‐communications industry is well‐positioned to meet demands for new ever‐innovative services based on a responsible use of data for the benefit of business and consumers alike. The future EU legal framework should allow responsible companies to unlock the potential of personal data to drive new digital services that consumers are demanding, and in turn generate growth and jobs throughout the EU.

Seeking to put an end to the fragmentation of data protection regimes throughout the 27 EU member states, the Regulation has the potential to accelerate the digital single market for telecoms services thereby improving the online experience for European citizens. By offering a consistent data protection level to consumersthroughout the EU and beyond, the new Regulation will also reinforce consumer trust and confidence while ensuring that consumers benefit from a clear and strong protection of their personal data.

Consumer confidence will be substantially reinforced by ensuring that EU citizens’ personal data shall be granted the same level of protection, regardless of the geographical location or the economic sector of the service provider (“same services, same rules”).

As certainty for businesses is vital in today’s economic environment, it is also essential to address the inconsistencies between the new Regulation and the ePrivacy Directive, avoiding the introduction of a dual regime for the ecommunications industry.