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European Parliament failed to protect our Privacy

Brussels, 19 October 2017 — The European Parliament has just adopted its position on ePrivacy. It is bad. Major threats pushed by Internet giants were rejected, but the so-called "pro-privacy" groups failed to reject them all. Liberals, left-wing and ecologist groups lost sight of our fundamental rights in an absurd attempt to reach compromises at any cost.

The so-called "pro-privacy" groups (the liberals of ALDE, left-wing S&D and Greens) have lost months in negotiating with regressive right-wing groups (EPP and ECR), pursuing unreachable compromises. At the last minute, right-wing groups left the negotiation table, creating an opportunity for a reasonable text to be adopted. But this opportunity was not seized at all: the groups pretending to defend our privacy did not even try to improve the draft ePrivacy Regulation but only focused on winning today's vote. Shame on them.

The "balanced compromise" adopted today (as Jan Albrecht called it) contains two alarming measures that will only benefit US companies and monopolistic telcos:

  • allowing websites to track users without their consent for "web audience measuring" (hello Google Analytics and their friends!);
  • and allowing companies to track our devices in the streets, stations, commercial centers, anywhere, without our consent.

Ms. Lauristin (S&D), who drafted the text adopted today, will pretend that she has proudly defended our rights. Mr. Albrecht (Greens) and Ms. In't Veld (ALDE) will do the same. They should not be listened to. They had several opportunities to reach for a way better text and did not even try.

Lauristin will leave Parliament soon (having been elected in Estonian local positions). Ms. Sippel (member of S&D, left-wing group) will replace her. We call Ms. Sippel to have the courage her predecessor lacked of.

Ms. Sippel will need to be way stronger than Ms. Lauristin, because the text adopted today will probably be debated in a few months by the whole Parliament (today's vote was only in Committee)1. There, regressive right-wing groups will come back, supported by major US companies and monopolistic telcos, and the bad text adopted today will not help fighting them.

« The so-called "pro-privacy" political groups failed to protect us. The ePrivacy Regulation is taking an even darker path than before. Ms. Sippel will take the text back from Ms. Lauristin's hands. We urge her to do what other refused: to fight for our rights and to stop pursuing absurd and unreachable compromises with regressive groups. » claims Arthur Messaud, privacy defender of La Quadrature du Net.

  • 1. It is doubtful that Ms. Sippel will be granted with a mandate for negotiations with the Council before a vote in plenary session. Thus, the text will probably go in plenary now.