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Changes to e-privacy and online data protection rules

Ed Vaizey calls for collaboration between the European Commission and the US Administration.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey has called for international collaboration to produce a consistent set of rules covering e-privacy.

Speaking earlier today at a CBI forum on e-privacy and the digital economy, Mr Vaizey said the European Commission and the US were currently looking at the rules covering data protection on-line and it was essential they work together.

The US has set out the principles underpinning a “consumer privacy bill of rights”, which would be similar to Europe’s current data protection and e-Privacy directive, while the European Commission is looking to revise the Data Protection Directive that was introduced more than a decade ago.

“When we place information on the Internet, we are sharing it with the world and the rules governing online privacy need to reflect that,” said Mr Vaizey. “For the sake of web users and businesses we need a unified and consistent approach to online privacy that crosses borders.”

Mr Vaizey also emphasised the need to strike the right balance between better data control and freedom to innovate: “Creating an international standard for online privacy will ensure businesses compete on a level playing field while web users enjoy the same protections wherever a website is based.”


The Government is currently working with browser manufacturers to see if browsers can be enhanced to provide easy to use settings for cookies (PDF, 65kb) whilst supporting cross-industry work on the use of cookies in behavioural advertising.

The revisions to the EU’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive will be in place by 25 May 2011 and full details of how they will be implemented will be published shortly.

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Published 26 November 2012