The business model for the internet is broken. Recently we learned that around 50 million Facebook users had their personal data harvested and misused by Cambridge Analytica, a company now infamous for influencing elections around the world. Violations like this will continue so long as our personal data is seen as a commercial commodity rather than sensitive information that must be closely protected.
Early this year, our founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee argued that we need to debunk the dual myths that “advertising is the only possible business model for online companies” and that “it’s too late to change the way platforms operate”.
Efforts are underway in the European Union to shift the model and break these myths. The ePrivacy directive, also known as the EU cookie directive, is an attempt to put online users in control of the data that is collected via cookies about their internet habits and activities.
However, there are concerns that these efforts are stalling under intense industry lobbying and lack of support from key member states.
The Web Foundation believes the proposed directive is a critically important step towards a robust data privacy framework for EU citizens. It provides the means to take back control of our privacy and provide for confidential, trusted online communications.
We have joined a group of 28 signatories from across the EU to call on member states to:
- Finalise and agree on discussions so that talks can begin with the European Parliament to adopt strong privacy protections by the end of 2018.
- Support provisions that ensure privacy by design and by default in both software and hardware.
The ePrivacy directive will function in conjunction with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will enter into force on 25 May 2018.
These provisions are one of most effective ways to ensure online users are protected from another Cambridge Analytica scandal. At stake are the fundamental rights of individuals, basic trust in technology and the future of an open web.
Read the letter in full