Today, under EU law, EU citizens enjoy a series of rights that are relevant to the digital environment, such as freedom of expression and information, protection of personal data and privacy, confidentiality of communications.

In the context of the legislative review of the 1995 EU data protection rules, that has led to the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Cable Europe, ETNO, ECTA and GSMA Europe have produced a set of briefing papers on issues that are important for the telecommunications sector, as well as a joint statement on the (then) draft GDPR regulation.

The GDPR, which the Commission expects, will allow businesses to make the most of the opportunities of the Digital Single Market, has now been adopted and has been published in the Official Journal of the EU on 4 May 20016. It will be applicable from 25 May 2018. The Article 29 Working Party is expected to deliver guidance for data controllers and processors on several of its provisions.

The European Commission has also started the review process of the ePrivacy Directive (ePD) by gathering input from stakeholders during a public consultation that ended at the beginning of July 2016. Cable Europe’s response took the form of a position paper calling for the repeal of the directive, and to the extent that any of its rules survive, for their extension to OTTs. The repeal of the directive was also the message conveyed by the joint statement that Cable Europe has co-signed, together with 11 other digital associations.

A legislative proposal is expected by the end of 2016.