Making predictions for the year ahead is possibly as desirable as unreliable. In a world of unlimited data and advanced science, it would be tempting to think that the future is already written. Algorithms and artificial intelligence will show us what lies ahead with immaculate accuracy. Or perhaps not. At least not yet. To say that the world is in turmoil is an understatement and the same is true of the world of privacy and data protection, which makes predicting the future particularly tricky. But since the urge to plan, budget and prepare for what is likely to happen next is so real, now is a good time to pause, reflect about what’s going on, and make some predictions for 2018.
The European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned a study to assess the European Commission’s draft e-Privacy Regulation, which was published in January 2017. The e-Privacy Regulation aims to harmonise privacy rules across the EU in the area of electronic communications, but the study has found that the draft e-Privacy Regulation does not as far as the GDPR in some respects. This contrasts with many other views expressed publicly, which regarded the Commission’s draft as a tightening of the GDPR regime. A central theme of the study, which was carried out by academics of the IViR Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam, is the need to protect privacy of correspondence regardless of medium or any other factor. The EU legislative institutions are urged to pay extra attention to four areas in which it is felt that there is insufficient protection of the right to privacy and confidentiality of communications. We explore these issues in the following post.
After all of the 2016 drama, the start of a brand new year is a welcome development in itself – a clean sheet for a script yet to be written. However, 2017 will not be without challenges and the same applies to the world of privacy and data protection. Many of the big issues that arose during 2016 will need to be addressed in 2017. In addition, new questions will no doubt emerge. Here is an overview of the privacy challenges that lie ahead and what can be done about them.