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GDPR was just the beginning—the next big fight in data protection is “ePrivacy”

The General Data Protection Regulation is in full effect, but the tech industry isn’t getting much chance to catch its breath. The next legal battle over data protection in Europe is already here, in the form of the ePrivacy Regulation.

What does it do? The law targets services that allow private interactions, like Skype and WhatsApp. It would require companies to get permission from users to track their usage or harvest data from conversations. And firms would have to offer the same service to all users, whether or not they consent to data collection.

Bureaucracy FTW: The regulation was approved by European Parliament but is stuck in review by the Council of the European Union. According to VentureBeat, “privacy advocates are optimistic the rules will be adopted in the coming months.”

Why it matters: Regulators argue that the law will put data control back in users’ hands. Industry groups insist it will limit innovation and make many services inaccessible or more costly. Lobbyist money is flying in, mainly from interest groups aligned with Big Tech, so the first step will be to see if the ePrivacy Regulation can make it out of review without being gutted.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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