e-Privacy Directive is the Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council from 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications).
The purpose of the Directive is to ensure EU citizens’ confidentiality of communication and protection of their personal data in the communications sector.
The Directive requires the Member States to ensure the rights and freedoms of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data, and in particular their right to privacy, in order to ensure the free flow of personal data.
Unlike the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is a binding legislative act, e-Privacy is a Directive, and therefore it only sets out goals that EU countries must achieve. However, each individual country can devise their own ways to achieve those goals.
ePrivacy Directive is complementing GDPR in the area of electronic communications and digital marketing. It is important to note that ePrivacy is applying only for the publicly available electronic communications services.
The reason behind the Directive is the rise of new advanced digital technologies and upcoming issues related to the safety and protection of personal data of individuals, to encourage harmonization across the Member States regarding those issues.