Industry associations GSMA and ETNO called on European Union (EU) member states to reject a proposal for tightening rules on communication services metadata processing, warning the approach would impede innovation and development of Europe’s data economy.

The two organisations issued a joint statement after Germany proposed a change in EU’s ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) directive to restrict the use of pseudonymised metadata in communication services.

GSMA and ETNO noted the proposal reflected “a persistent misconception that privacy and innovation cannot coexist”, while not being “fit for future nor European competitiveness” as it didn’t bridge “the gap between protecting privacy and confidentiality and stimulating innovation” in service providers across Europe.

Going forward, the organisations stated the suggested text failed to reflect views by member states demonstrating a growing consensus over processing of pseudonymised metadata.

The industry also urged for continued work for securing a “framework that is conducive to strengthening the EU’s data economy”.

In 2017, the European Commission (EC) proposed to extend its privacy directive, currently applying only to operators, to cover companies providing messaging services. EU member states, however, have yet to reach an agreement on adopting the regulations.