EBU position on this issue

We wish to:

  • Strike the right balance between meeting users’ expectations by innovating and improving existing services on the one hand, while complying with privacy and data protection rules on the other.
  • Maintain a trustful relationship with the user, taking into account the ethical, technical and legal specifics raised by data and artificial intelligence tools and services.

More specifically as regards ePrivacy we wish to:

  • Ensure an effective and clear EU ePrivacy regulatory framework, aligned with GDPR so we can enhance legal certainty for content personalization and recommendation; this would also allow us to ensure appropriate safeguards for users’ privacy and protection of personal data;
  • Enable audience measurement as an exception to cookies consent, provided that as the case may be, contractual conditions of the GDPR are met and that there is no risk of abuse to process personal data for other purposes beyond audience measurement;
  • Empower users to continue to manage their privacy settings preferences at the service provider level.

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What is at stake?

The speed at which technology evolves makes it challenging for regulation to keep up. As Public Service Media (PSM), we endeavour to use personal data in the most accountable, secure and smart way. For this, we need a clear EU data protection framework, effective in a global context, and which will reinforce trust in the EU Digital Single Market.

To be efficient, any new ePrivacy regulation also needs to be fully aligned with and complementary to the GDPR, offering clear and consistent conditions for the processing of data across the EU.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes the current challenges even more acute, considering the ethical dimension it raises. We need to be prepared and to work on the best possible existing regulatory basis.

Trust has always been at the center of public service media's relationship with their audiences. It is essential to maintain this trust in the digital world, taking into account the challenges and opportunities raised by big data, artificial intelligence and algorithms. We must make individuals fully aware of why their personal data is collected and how it will be used, empowering them to fully exercise their rights.

Richard Burnley
Director, Legal and Policy



Electronic communications data allows media to connect with audiences and adapt services to their needs and wishes. More specifically, audience measurement and data analytics help public service media fulfill their public service mission in the digital world. We need access to data from users’ devices in order to personalize our services, but always within the framework of appropriate privacy safeguards and settings, and transparent user information.

Personalization, like search functions, recommendations or content moderation, rely also on artificial intelligence. Designing the best way to optimize data opportunities, while protecting individuals’ rights and freedoms, is one of the most important challenges media organizations are facing today.

To clarify and adapt the legal framework in which we operate, the EU ePrivacy Regulation proposal is meant to update the 2002 ePrivacy Directive and complement the GDPR. Among the various changes proposed, it would enhance and harmonize consent requirements and rules for the tracking of online activity through the use of cookies. Our Members endeavour to make the best use of data while protecting individuals’ rights and remaining accountable.

With this in mind, the EBU Interdisciplinary Data Protection Group (Data Protection Group) gathering Members’ experts from different areas such as legal, technology, digital, comms, marketing and public affairs, has been actively working on the proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation.


The European Commission published a communication on the implementation of the GDPR in July 2019 which shows that data protection is taken more seriously than ever before. However, it seems that some improvements are still needed in a number of areas.

For instance, the obligation under the GDPR to reconcile the right to the protection of personal data with the right to freedom of expression and information should not be misused to create a chilling effect on journalistic work and activities.

In this respect, the GDPR evaluation report that the Commission is due to issue by 25 May 2020 should give an opportunity to assess the progress made and whether after two years of application there is a need for more legal certainty and additional or clearer guidelines.

In this context, the EBU Data Protection Officers Group (DPO Group) brings together DPOs, Senior Privacy Legal officers and experts in data protection issues from across the EBU Membership. It aims to assist Members in their GDPR compliance process and provides a forum to update them on the latest developments in Europe and beyond, as well as an opportunity for sharing experiences and best practices and for networking.

The EBU Data Protection Group and DPO Group respective activities are coordinated to reflect EBU’s consistent approach to data and privacy. 

19 Nov 2019
News Report 2019 - The Next Newsroom: Unlocking the Power of AI for Public Service Journalism
Large-scale use of data and artificial intelligence represents the fourth major wave in the digitalization of journalism (after online, mobile and social media). It is a significant opportunity for public service journalism, but there are also considerable risks. In particular, the new communication paradigm could heighten the dominance of technology platforms in the flow of information between people.
21 Nov 2018
e-Privacy Regulation
The European Commission has proposed a Regulation to update e-privacy in eletronic communications. PSM support a Regulation which establishes proportionate and consistent data protection safeguards.
02 Nov 2017
The Future of Audience Measurement: Key Challenges
This document aims to explain, in non-technical language, the key challenges that EBU Members’ audience researchers and data analysts are facing, or are likely to face in the future with regard to the increasing complexity of audience measurement. It also provides guidance for top management to mitigate challenges and explore data to its full potential.
Position paper
05 Jul 2016
EBU Reply: ePrivacy
EBU Reply to the questionnaire for the public consultation on the evaluation and review of the ePrivacy Directive.
28 Mar 2012
Data Protection
EBU comments regarding the Council of Europe's new proposals for modernisation of Convention 108
14 Jan 2011
Data protection
EBU comments concerning the consultation on the Commission's Communication "A comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European Union"
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