Telecoms Package ePrivacy Council Common Position

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Telecoms Package: Directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (ePrivacy 2002/58/EC) − Council of European Union Common Position − 2009-02-09



Article 2

Article 2 − Definitions

Save as otherwise provided, the definitions in Directive 95/46/EC and in Directive 2002/21/EC on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive) shall apply.

The following definitions shall also apply:

(a) “user” means any natural person using a publicly available electronic communications service, for private or business purposes, without necessarily having subscribed to this service;

(b) “traffic data” means any data processed for the purpose of the conveyance of a communication on an electronic communications network or for the billing thereof;

(c) “location data” means any data processed in an electronic communications network or by an electronic communications service, indicating the geographic position of the terminal equipment of a user of a publicly available electronic communications service;

(d) “communication” means any information exchanged or conveyed between a finite number of parties by means of a publicly available electronic communications service. This does not include any information conveyed as part of a broadcasting service to the public over an electronic communications network except to the extent that the information can be related to the identifiable subscriber or user receiving the information;

(e) “consent” by a user or subscriber corresponds to the data subject's consent in Directive 95/46/EC;

(f) “value added service” means any service which requires the processing of traffic data or location data other than traffic data beyond what is necessary for the transmission of a communication or the billing thereof;

(g) “electronic mail” means any text, voice, sound or image message sent over a public communications network which can be stored in the network or in the recipient's terminal equipment until it is collected by the recipient;

(h) “personal data breach” means a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed in connection with the provision of a publicly available electronic communications service in the Community.


Article 3

(44) Technological progress allows the development of new applications based on devices for data collection and identification, which could be contactless devices using radio frequencies. For example, Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) use radio frequencies to capture data from uniquely identified tags which can then be transferred over existing communications networks. The wide use of such technologies can bring considerable economic and social benefit and thus make a powerful contribution to the internal market, if their use is acceptable to citizens. To achieve this aim, it is necessary to ensure that all fundamental rights of individuals, including the right to privacy and data protection, are safeguarded. When such devices are connected to publicly available electronic communications networks or make use of electronic communications services as a basic infrastructure, the relevant provisions of Directive 2002/58/EC (Directive on privacy and electronic communications), including those on security, traffic and location data and on confidentiality, should apply.


Article 4

Article 4 − Security of processing


1. The provider of a publicly available electronic communications service must take appropriate technical and organisational measures to safeguard security of its services, if necessary in conjunction with the provider of the public communications network with respect to network security. Having regard to the state of the art and the cost of their implementation, these measures shall ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk presented.


2. In case of a particular risk of a breach of the security of the network, the provider of a publicly available electronic communications service must inform the subscribers concerning such risk and, where the risk lies outside the scope of the measures to be taken by the service provider, of any possible remedies, including an indication of the likely costs involved.


3. In the case of a personal data breach, the provider of publicly available electronic communications services shall assess the scope of the personal data breach, evaluate its seriousness and consider whether it is necessary to notify the personal data breach to the competent national authority and subscriber concerned, taking into account the relevant rules set by the competent national authority in accordance with paragraph 4.

When the personal data breach represents a serious risk for the subscriber's privacy, the provider of publicly available electronic communications services shall notify the competent national authority and the subscriber of the breach without undue delay.

The notification to the subscriber shall at least describe the nature of the personal data breach and the contact points where more information can be obtained, and shall recommend measures to mitigate the possible negative effects of the personal data breach. The notification to the competent national authority shall, in addition, describe the consequences of, and the measures proposed or taken by the provider to address, the personal data breach.


(47) A breach of security resulting in the loss or compromising of personal data of an individual subscriber may, if not addressed in an adequate and timely manner, result in substantial economic loss and social harm, including identity fraud. Therefore, as soon as the provider of publicly available electronic communications service becomes aware that such a breach has occurred, it should assess the risks associated with it, e.g. by establishing the type of data affected by the breach (including their sensitivity, context and the security measures in place), the cause and extent of the breach, the number of subscribers affected and the possible harm for subscribers as a result of the breach (e.g. identity theft, financial loss, loss of business or employment opportunities or physical harm). The subscribers concerned by security incidents that could result in a serious risk to their privacy (e.g. identity theft or fraud, physical harm, significant humiliation or damage to reputation) should be notified without delay in order to allow them to take the necessary precautions. The notification should include information about measures taken by the provider to address the breach, as well as recommendations for the users affected. Notification of a security breach to a subscriber should not be required if the provider has demonstrated to the competent authority that it has implemented appropriate technological protection measures, and that those measures were applied to the data concerned by the security breach. Such technological protection measures should render the data unintelligible to any person who is not authorised to access it.


4. Member States shall ensure that the competent national authority is able to set detailed rules and, where necessary, issue instructions concerning the circumstances in which notification of personal data breaches by providers of a publicly available electronic communications service is necessary, the format applicable to such notification and the manner in which the notification is to be made.


5. In order to ensure consistency in implementation of the measures referred to in paragraphs 1 to 4 the Commission may, following consultation with the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), the Article 29 Working Party and the European Data Protection Supervisor, adopt recommendations concerning, inter alia, the circumstances, format and procedures applicable to the information and notification requirements referred to in this Article.


Article 5

Article 5 − Confidentiality of the communications


1. Member States shall ensure the confidentiality of communications and the related traffic data by means of a public communications network and publicly available electronic communications services, through national legislation. In particular, they shall prohibit listening, tapping, storage or other kinds of interception or surveillance of communications and the related traffic data by persons other than users, without the consent of the users concerned, except when legally authorised to do so in accordance with Article 15(1). This paragraph shall not prevent technical storage which is necessary for the conveyance of a communication without prejudice to the principle of confidentiality.


2. Paragraph 1 shall not affect any legally authorised recording of communications and the related traffic data when carried out in the course of lawful business practice for the purpose of providing evidence of a commercial transaction or of any other business communication.


3. Member States shall ensure that the storing of information, or access to information already stored, in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user is only allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned is provided with clear and comprehensive information, in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC, inter alia about the purposes of the processing, and is offered the right to refuse such processing by the data controller. This shall not prevent any technical storage or access for the sole purpose of carrying out or facilitating the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network, or as strictly necessary in order to provide an information society service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user.


Article 6

Article 6 − Traffic data


1. Traffic data relating to subscribers and users processed and stored by the provider of a public communications network or publicly available electronic communications service shall be erased or made anonymous when it is no longer needed for the purpose of the transmission of a communication. This shall be without prejudice to paragraphs 2, 3, 5 and 7 of this Article and Article 15(1).


2. Traffic data necessary for the purposes of subscriber billing and interconnection payments may be processed. Such processing is permissible only up to the end of the period during which the bill may lawfully be challenged or payment pursued.


3. For the purpose of marketing electronic communications services or for the provision of value added services, the provider of a publicly available electronic communications service may process the data referred to in paragraph 1 to the extent and for the duration necessary for such services or marketing, if the subscriber or user to whom the data relate has given his or her prior consent. Users or subscribers shall be given the possibility to withdraw their consent for the processing of traffic data at any time.


4. The service provider must inform the subscriber or user of the types of traffic data which are processed and of the duration of such processing for the purposes mentioned in paragraph 2 and, prior to obtaining consent, for the purposes mentioned in paragraph 3.


5. Processing of traffic data, in accordance with paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4, must be restricted to persons acting under the authority of providers of the public communications networks and publicly available electronic communications services handling billing or traffic management, customer enquiries, fraud detection, marketing electronic communications services or providing a value added service, and must be restricted to what is necessary for the purposes of such activities.


6. Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 5 shall apply without prejudice to the possibility for competent bodies to be informed of traffic data in conformity with applicable legislation with a view to settling disputes, in particular interconnection or billing disputes.


7. Traffic data may be processed to the extent strictly necessary to ensure network and information security, as defined by Article 4(c) of Regulation (EC) No 460/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 establishing the European Network and Information Security Agency (OJ L 77, 13.3.2004, p. 1.).


(41) The processing of traffic data to the extent strictly necessary for the purposes of the detection, location and elimination of faults and malfunctions of network and information security, ensuring the availability, authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of stored or transmitted data, will help prevent unauthorised access and malicious code distribution, "denial of service" attacks and damage to computer and electronic communication systems.


Article 14

Article 14 − Technical features and standardisation

1 In implementing the provisions of this Directive, Member States shall ensure, subject to paragraphs 2 and 3, that no mandatory requirements for specific technical features are imposed on terminal or other electronic communication equipment which could impede the placing of equipment on the market and the free circulation of such equipment in and between Member States.


2. Where provisions of this Directive can be implemented only by requiring specific technical features in electronic communications networks, Member States shall inform the Commission in accordance with the procedure provided for by Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations and of rules on information society services.


3. Where required, measures may be adopted to ensure that terminal equipment is constructed in a way that is compatible with the right of users to protect and control the use of their personal data, in accordance with Directive 1999/5/EC and Council Decision 87/95/EEC of 22 December 1986 on standardisation in the field of information technology and communications.


Article 15

Article 15 − Application of certain provisions of Directive 95/46/EC


1. Member States may adopt legislative measures to restrict the scope of the rights and obligations provided for in Article 5, Article 6, Article 8(1), (2), (3) and (4), and Article 9 of this Directive when such restriction constitutes a necessary, appropriate and proportionate measure within a democratic society to safeguard national security (i.e. State security), defence, public security, and the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences or of unauthorised use of the electronic communication system, as referred to in Article 13(1) of Directive 95/46/EC. To this end, Member States may, inter alia, adopt legislative measures providing for the retention of data for a limited period justified on the grounds laid down in this paragraph. All the measures referred to in this paragraph shall be in accordance with the general principles of Community law, including those referred to in Article 6(1) and (2) of the Treaty on European Union.


1a. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to data specifically required by Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks to be retained for the purposes referred to in Article 1(1) of that Directive.


2. The provisions of Chapter III on judicial remedies, liability and sanctions of Directive 95/46/EC shall apply with regard to national provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive and with regard to the individual rights derived from this Directive.


3. The Working Party on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data instituted by Article 29 of Directive 95/46/EC shall also carry out the tasks laid down in Article 30 of that Directive with regard to matters covered by this Directive, namely the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms and of legitimate interests in the electronic communications sector.


Article 15a

Article 15a − Implementation and enforcement


1. Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the national provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive and may be applied to cover the period of any breach, even where the breach has subsequently been rectified. The Member States shall notify those provisions to the Commission by ...(The date referred to in Article 4(1).), and shall notify it without delay of any subsequent amendment affecting them.


2. Member States shall ensure that the competent national authority and, where relevant, other national bodies have the power to order the cessation of the infringements referred to in paragraph 1.


3. Member States shall ensure that the competent national authority and, where relevant, other national bodies have all necessary investigative powers and resources, including the power to obtain any relevant information they might need to monitor and enforce national provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive.


4. In order to ensure effective cross-border cooperation in the enforcement of the national laws adopted pursuant to this Directive and to create harmonised conditions for the provision of services involving cross-border data flows, the Commission may adopt recommendations, following consultation with ENISA, the Article 29 Working Party and the relevant regulatory authorities.


(54) The need to ensure an adequate level of protection of privacy and personal data transmitted and processed in connection with the use of electronic communications networks in the Community calls for effective implementation and enforcement powers in order to provide adequate incentives for compliance. Competent national authorities and, where appropriate, other relevant national bodies should have sufficient powers and resources to investigate cases of non-compliance effectively, including powers to obtain any relevant information they might need, to decide on complaints and to impose sanctions in cases of non-compliance.


(55) The implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this Directive often require cooperation between the national regulatory authorities of two or more Member States, for example in combating cross-border spam and spyware. In order to ensure smooth and rapid cooperation in such cases, procedures relating for example to the quantity and format of information exchanged between authorities, or deadlines to be complied with, should be defined in recommendations. Such procedures will also allow the resulting obligations of market actors to be harmonised, contributing to the creation of a level playing field in the Community.