NEWS20 October 2017

IAB criticises European parliament backing stronger e-privacy rules

Europe GDPR Media News Privacy

EUROPE – The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe has said a decision by the European parliament to back stronger online privacy regulations would harm media.

Lock representing data privacy

The industry body issued a statement disagreeing with the decision, taken by the European Parliament’s committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE), to back amendments to the directive on e-privacy.

The IAB Europe said the changes would force news and other European websites, in effect, “to provide their content for free”. 

The parliamentary committee voted for stronger privacy rules in online communications, despite objections from a substantial minority of MEPs.

Townsend Feehan, chief executive, IAB Europe, said: “News and other online services rely on data-driven, ad-funded business models to finance the creation of content. Content that must be given away for nothing will ultimately end up being worth nothing.“

“Well-intentioned MEPs believe they need to take these extreme measures to protect citizens. This is simply not true. Privacy rights are already expanded significantly in the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted last year. And sadly, other fundamental rights, including the right to access diverse, quality information sources affordably, media freedom, and property rights, are being needlessly sacrificed.”

He added: “More than ever, Europe needs vibrant, independent media that can hold power to account. We welcome the fact that a considerable number of committee members seem to share this conviction. This said, the majority view betrays a mystifying disregard for it, and by the very political groups one might have thought would be most conscious of it.”