Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Privacy & Compliance

EU to Relaunch Push to Regulate WhatsApp, Skype on Privacy

The EU will relaunch its deadlocked effort to more closely regulate internet phone and message services such as WhatsApp, Skype and Messenger, a top bloc official said on Tuesday.

The EU will relaunch its deadlocked effort to more closely regulate internet phone and message services such as WhatsApp, Skype and Messenger, a top bloc official said on Tuesday.

The European Union has struggled to revamp privacy and data rules on telecoms since a proposal in January 2017 met with strong opposition from member states and fierce lobbying by big tech companies.

Europe is seeking to be the global leader on stronger regulation of big tech companies, and the failure to agree on the so-called ePrivacy regulation has been a source of embarrassment.

“We will have to probably put on the table a new proposal,” Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told EU telecom ministers at talks in Brussels.

“I definitely think that, if I hear you, everybody wants to do something but obviously you are not in agreement,” Breton, a former French finance minister, said.

Under the existing EU rules that date back to 2002, strict privacy protection is only applied to text messages and voice calls provided by traditional telecoms, sparing tech giants Facebook, Google and Skype from the same oversight.

Ministers have been dogged by divisions on a myriad of issues, including how to handle pornography and online child abuse as well as controls on so-called cookies used by advertisers to track users.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The reform includes strengthened bans on spam sent without user consent via email or SMS and includes requirements that WhatsApp and others make data available to law enforcement agencies.

Tech companies argue the reform is unnecessary as it duplicates the EU’s landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that has become a global benchmark on the protection of data and privacy online.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, had hoped for a breakthrough on the stalled effort to level the playing field, but ministers meeting in Brussels once again made their divisions plain.

“We’ve been wasting time for three years on this discussion, I hope we can make it,” an irritated Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who is also telecom minister, told his counterparts.

Breton said all options were on the table to fix the impasse, but insisted that the EU “move fast… European citizens are expecting us to deliver”. 

Written By

AFP 2023

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.


Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.


Expert Insights

Related Content


The three primary drivers for cyber regulations are voter privacy, the economy, and national security – with the complication that the first is often...

Cybersecurity Funding

Los Gatos, Calif-based data protection and privacy firm Titaniam has raised $6 million seed funding from Refinery Ventures, with participation from Fusion Fund, Shasta...


Many in the United States see TikTok, the highly popular video-sharing app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, as a threat to national security.The following is...


Employees of Chinese tech giant ByteDance improperly accessed data from social media platform TikTok to track journalists in a bid to identify the source...

Mobile & Wireless

As smartphone manufacturers are improving the ear speakers in their devices, it can become easier for malicious actors to leverage a particular side-channel for...

Cloud Security

AWS has announced that server-side encryption (SSE-S3) is now enabled by default for all Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets.


Meta was fined an additional $5.9 million for violating EU data protection regulations with WhatsApp messaging app.