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Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud

Ecommerce Europe to assess ePrivacy to avoid negative impacts on ecommerce

Thursday 12 January 2017 | 10:01 AM CET

Ecommerce Europe has announced plans to review the ePrivacy Directive to make this legislation fit for the future of online retail.

The association believes the directive misses the opportunity to bring more clarity in the rules on consent for cookies and to further simplify rules on unsolicited marketing communications.

On the one side, Ecommerce Europe is pleased to see that cookies with a low or no privacy intrusive character will be exempted from consent requirement. However, it is unclear how far this rule will go, and therefore more clarification is needed on what is meant by low or no privacy intrusive character.

Ecommerce Europe welcomes the fact that the proposed Regulation will allow consent to be given by browser settings when technically possible, because this will reduce the consumer’s consent fatigue and make it easier for online merchants to seek the consumer’s consent. Ecommerce Europe also supports the future-proof definitions of electronic communication and electronic mail in the Regulation. Ecommerce Europe is pleased that the proposal will still allow online merchants to send unsolicited marketing communications to clients who have provided their electronic contact details in the context of the sale of a product or a service.

However, the association favours a broad interpretation of the “context of the sale of a product or a service”, which also covers a prior online relationship between the consumer and the merchant related to the orientation of the purchase. Moreover, online merchants should not be restricted to similar products in terms of unsolicited electronic commercial messages, but should rather be allowed to send unsolicited electronic commercial messages regarding all their goods, services or digital content.

Ecommerce Europe will assess the ePrivacy Proposal in more detail, draft a position paper and work together with EU legislators throughout the legislative process to solve the above-mentioned issues, in order to avoid potential negative impacts on the ecommerce sector.

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