Igor Černiševski: We all know about GDPR, but what about ePrivacy Regulation?

November 2017
Advertiser Serbia

Igor Černiševski, Digital Group Account Manager u Direct Media and member of the Legal and Policy Committee of IAB Serbia, for Advertiser Serbia is dealing with a boiling topic about the business of all who live from advertising on the Internet – ePrivacy Regulation.

The domestic digital community has been intensively engaged in GDPR over the past few months.  Application, planned for May next year, is close, and so much interest is therefore understandable. On the other hand, ePrivacy Regulation is very rarely mentioned, which may have more serious consequences for the industry in relation to GDPR .

What is ePrivacy Regulation?

It is a document which will replace the existing ePrivacy Directive in 2002. The main difference is that the current document covered only the territory of electronic media and was not legally binding, while the new document will take into account all forms of electronic communication and will be legally binding. In practice, this means it will cover Gmail, FB Messenger, WhatsApp and other DM and chat tools, as wel as all online communication platforms.

The goal of this regulation is to harmonize different online privacy rules that are in force in the EU Member States. The regulation implies all definitions of privacy and data regulated by the GDPR, but it additionally clarifies and expands them. This particularly refers to “unsolicited marketing”, cookies and privacy.

What does this act mean?


To be sure that European channels of digital communications are safe, no matter on the technology used, the proposed regulations will apply on the services for voice communication and instant messengers, i.e., for chat applications. Privacy is guaranteed for the content of communications as well as for data such as call time or messages and location and all data will have to be anonymized or deleted if users have not given their consent for the use of data. Exempt  from this are only the data necessary for payment collection.


Users must have control over the all sensitive data placed on their devices, without the need to click on the banner asking for their consent on the use cookie every time they visit a particular web site. Setting the browser will give users a simple way to accept or refuse cookies. The proposal explains in more detail that consent is not necessary for cookies that do not have an impact on privacy and that serve to improve user experience – rememberring the settings on the web site, remembering the content of the basket and the like. Cookies used by web sites to count the number of users will not require consent either.


Users will have to agree before they receive automated marketing messages via SMS, email or telephone call. Users will have the ability to easily check out from the communication list. Companies that call users will have to show their number in identification or will have to use a number with special prefix, which denotes a marketing call.

What does all this essentially mean?

Cookies and tracking of online advertising remains legal, but it is made very difficult, as far as us, marketers, are concerned. By replacing the existing directive with a new regulation, all stated becomes legally regulated and will apply on the whole territory of the EU, which means it will also apply on candidate countries, sooner or later.

What next?

The European Parliament adopted a report on ePrivacy Regulation on 26 October. This report practically forbid publishers to limit users access to their contents if users do not permit publishers to collect information about them, which in practice stands for long lasting and painful death of the Internet funded via ads in this way and almost complete disintegration of the system of monetization of content on the Internet applicable so far. The adoption of this reports means that the EU is a step closer to the adoption of regulations in the existing form.

The data are the foundation of the mechanism on the basis of which ads are shown to users, the evidence that users saw ads and the base for payment of advertising. Digital advertising which is based on the data is not an extra service – this is digital advertising. Forcing creators of the content to open their content, even in cases when users refuse to give your own data in exchange for access to the content, practically means taking away from the publishers the rights on the monetization of own content. Publishers will be forced to give something, without being obliged to give something back in return.

The regulation ignores connection of data i commercial functioning of business, which have their business based on the Internet. Thereby, this regulation threatens to shake the very foundations of online business. If applied in the proposed form, it will inevitably lead to an enormous fall in the European online industry. Publishers will no longer be able to effectively target certain audience or to prove that the users saw ads, and without it, online advertising loses its value. The direct consequence will be the disappearance of the content that we have so far received at a very low price or free of charge. This leads us to an enchanted spiral: the less content – the less audience – the less money.

However, there is always it is hoped that it will not to be so. It is estimated that ePrivacy regulation will not to be adopted at least for more year, so there is space for changes. The main associations in the advertising industry have joined the battle: European Publishers Association (EPC), European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), Association of Television and Radio Sales Houses (EGTA), European Magazine Media Association (EMMA), European Newspaper Publishers Association (ENPA), Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing (FEDMA), Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB Europe), World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), Association of European Radios (AER) and Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT).

“ePrivacy regulation will hit almost every aspect of functioning of the Internet and the digital economy. The European Parliament should allocate some time to consider all legal, commercial and technical sides. The use of information in business models that are based on the the Internet is far from simple. The role of data in the user experience is also very far from simple. Accelerated access to rregulations that does not recognize this complexity is not simple, but dangerously simplified,” says Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe.

More information can be read on the web site www.likeabadmovie.eu