WhatsApp, Facebook and Google face tough new privacy rules under EC proposal

Messaging services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Gmail will face tough new rules on the tracking of users under a revision to the ePrivacy Directive proposed by the European Commission on Tuesday.

The new legislation seeks to reinforce the right to privacy and control of data for European citizens, with messaging, email and voice services – such as those provided by Facebook, Google and Microsoft – forced to guarantee the confidentiality of conversations and metadata around the time, place and other factors of those conversations.

Listening to, tapping, intercepting, scanning or the storing of communications will not be allowed without the consent of the user, unless it is critical for billing or other purposes. Companies will have to ask for the explicit consent of users before being able to use their data for advertising purposes, which most use to fund services provided for free to end-users.

The rules governing the placing and use of cookies, which currently require consent for all purposes and has led to a cookie warning appearing on a site when visiting for the first time, are being simplified. The EC hopes to remove the overload of cookie warnings, informs The Guardian.


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