Not everybody has realized it but the new directive, put forward on January 10, hides a “surprise” which risks backfiring against both mass media and their users.
The document, if approved, should replace the 2002/85/CE directive, no small matter, actually. Indeed, it affects all rules regarding personal data protection in the digital environment, i.e. everybody’s data. Read it in Italian.
In the words of the spokespeople <<The ePrivacy Directive ensures the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, in particular the respect for private life, confidentiality of communications and the protection of personal data in the electronic communications sector. It ensures the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, in particular the respect for private life, confidentiality of communications and the protection of personal data in the electronic communications sector>>.
A more than reasonable protective measure. Except for a few lines which undermine the economic system sustaining the publishing business as a whole: advertising!
Buried under too many amendments in the ePrivacy Regulation you can actually read the following: <<No user can be denied access to any [on-line] service or function, whether we are talking about free-of-charge or subscription services, for not consenting to the processing of their personal data and/or to the use of the records of their devices >>.
In a nutshell, it means that publishers (news, social media, entertainment, services) will be forced to allow users to access their websites, even though these latter unable advertising.
Nevertheless, the Internet relies on the data exchange process. More specifically, the exchange of data between a computer and/or a smartphone belonging to a user and the publishers’ servers. If approved, such directive would prevent advertisers to carry on such exchange (unless consumers accept to receive ads) and would force publishers to provide contents anyway.
It would mark the end of a business model. And those who are secretly celebrating the death of annoying advertising, should stop and think how much this would actually cost them.
As clearly explained by Randall Rothenberg, chairman of IAB, if approved, the “Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications” would be devastating for European consumers. Indeed, if users could freely block advertising, companies and media would be obliged, to compensate the loss of 76% of their incomes currently deriving from advertising, in other ways. How? Most likely by making users pay big money for services and contents which are now free-of-charge. For instance: the Financial Times.
And since businesses operating in Europe would have to comply with the new regulation, such proposal would backfire globally (European regulators are about to kill the digital media industry).
Hopefully, the UE will reconsider their prescriptive approach to privacy which may hinder innovation among European businesses and will understand that mass media depend on advertising.
Both as publishers and/or users, what do you think on the proposal of the EU about ePrivacy? Tweet me @agostinellialdo.
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