European Committee Accepts Privacy, Spam Proposals

The European Parliament Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs accepted proposed amendments Friday regulating the use of Web site cookies and spam.

The committee accepted the Directive on Electronic Communications and Data Privacy, which gives consumers the right to control whether they receive or filter cookies. The committee also voted down a proposal that would have required consumers to give prior consent for each cookie they received while surfing the Web.

The Federation of European Direct Marketing said it supported the directive.

“FEDMA believes it is important for consumers to have access to information on cookies, which will allow them to understand the purpose, benefits and limitations of this technology, and that they are able to implement their personal preferences using their own Web browsers,” said Axel Tandberg, FEDMA's director of government affairs.

The committee also supported a proposal that the European Parliament return to the national choice option for unsolicited commercial e-mail. The proposal gives each member state of the European Union the right to choose whether commercial e-mail should be regulated on an opt-out or opt-in basis.

“Going back to the national choice amendment will give [member states] in the European Union a chance to develop their business in the Internal Market, by establishing first contact with the consumer via e-mail,” Tandberg said. “This is vital for e-commerce to prosper in the European Union.”

The Parliament is expected to vote on the proposals in May.

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