Tech groups raise concerns EU ePrivacy plan could kill innovation

28 May 2018

Some companies are concerned the ePrivacy regulation will make data inaccessible. Image: HelloRF Zcool/Shutterstock

GDPR has been in force for less than a week, but it is already causing serious upheaval.

It was only a matter of time before the GDPR cases began to pile up and Austrian privacy advocate Max Schrems was one of the first to file after the 25 May deadline.

He has filed three complaints against Facebook and its subsidiaries, totalling €3.9bn, via regulators in Germany, Austria and Belgium. Google is also in the crosshairs, with another complaint filed by Schrems valued at €3.7bn in France. He alleges that users are being strong-armed into granting consent to access services.

Blockchain solutions are also up against a number of complications, according to expert lawyer Laura Jehl of BakerHostetler. Jehl said that the timing of blockchain’s ascent and GDPR is less than ideal for those using the technology in their products: “It’s an issue of emerging technology literally emerging at the same time as emerging law.”

As well as blockchain solutions, media companies in the US are already experiencing some compliance issues.

Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon said Ireland will be at the epicentre of GDPR compliance in the EU for companies like Google. She explained that she and the ODPC staff will be working to put Ireland on the map as “as a country that implements and upholds the highest standards of protection of personal information”.

GDPR is only a few days old, but a lot can happen with a regulation this transformative – catch up here.

First came GDPR – now meet the ePrivacy regulation

While GDPR has been on everyone’s minds ahead of the deadline, now it has arrived eyes are already turning towards the ePrivacy regulation, a rule governing the confidentiality of electronic communications between EU data subjects.

If the current draft passes, companies like Facebook and WhatsApp will need to obtain explicit information from users before collecting data or using tracking codes on devices.

According to The New York Times, many companies that initially tried to derail GDPR have now set their sights on ePrivacy. MEPs say the companies are being too fatalistic and point to the need for more individual data controls.

GDPR memes flood the internet

While companies and organisations were breathlessly trying to get everything in order to achieve compliance, other people on the internet did what they do best – made GDPR into a meme.

From lampooning the deluge of emails begging users to ‘stay in touch’ to an intergalactic privacy policy from Star Wars director Rian Johnson, the regulation has at least already produced some high-quality content.

How is GDPR affecting the games industry?

The remit of GDPR is expansive, with numerous organisations required to comply with the detailed regulation. One industry that is worried of falling foul of the EU is gaming, Engadget reports.

Some gaming companies such as Razer have adopted GDPR policies on a global scale, while other games and older services have shut down completely as the costs of compliance dwarfed the benefits. Monday Night Combat was shut down by Uber Entertainment and a free-to-play shooter, Loadout, was also closed.

Domain overseer ICANN in fight to protect WHOIS database

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has filed a lawsuit against German domain registrar EPAG – a part of the Tucows group.

ICANN has been struggling to make the internet domain name system (DNS) and WHOIS database compliant with GDPR. Having been unsuccessful in securing a one-year extension to comply, ICANN is now taking a legal case to ensure WHOIS can still collect certain types of data.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects