Published 2017-04-12

Schibsted in EU-hearing on new e-Privacy proposal

On Tuesday, Raoul Grünthal presented Schibsted Media Group’s view on the new e-Privacy proposal in a hearing in the European Parliament.

The new e-Privacy proposal will affect all of Schibsted Media Group’s business areas. In his introduction, Raoul Grunthal, CEO of Schibsted Sweden, how vital it looks set to become:

“I think the proposed regulation is of great importance, said Grünthal. He emphasizes that it will affect the following:

  • what we can offer to our consumers,
  • the ability of European companies to compete with the global players; and
  • ultimately, this is about democracy. The proposal might in fact impact the free and independent European press heavily as it will make it harder to have sustainable income from digital advertising. 

Read Raoul Grünthal’s speech at the EU Parliament

The hearing was conducted by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) in the EU Parliament in Brussels, and Schibsted was invited as an “expert witness”. The hearing is part of the works conducted by the LIBE Committee to preparing its report on this proposal and seeks to provide the LIBE Committee with the views of the main actors involved. In addition to Schibsted, a representative from Facebook was also present as well as NGOs and academia.

Some of the more problematic issues in the proposal is that users will be forced to opt in to data collection as a default, unlike today where they can choose to opt out. To make matters worse, this mechanism is proposed to be set in the browsers. Schibsted is of the opinion that this will turn the browsers into the gatekeepers of the internet.

Raoul underlined three key messages for the Committee:

  • Data collection and privacy is a complex area, and we cannot have the basic expectation that consumers understand and actively take a stand and opt in.
  • Opt in via browsers (e.g. Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari) will make them gatekeepers of the Internet.
  • It is not the right answer to try to fix transparency and user empowerment in one – and just one – specific way. We need flexible rules to promote user empowerment and transparency, to secure a level playing field, and to allow for innovation.

Raoul Grunthal was joined in Brussels by Ingvild Næss, Group Privacy Officer in Schibsted.

“We welcome the proposals focus on the users, how data is used and the ambition to get in place a framework which allows the users to really understand the use of data. Unfortunately, the proposal as it is today does not achieve that purpose. We will continue our effort to make adoptions and thereby make the e-privacy proposal better equipped for its purpose before it is implemented,” says Ingvild Næss.