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Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR)

Contributor(s): Tracey Caldwell

Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) is an implementation of the European Union (EU) e-Privacy Directive in the United Kingtom. 

PECR regulations restrict the processing and sharing of personal traffic data and location data and provide for access to users’ personal data in the interest of national security. The information commissioner has the power to audit the measures taken by a provider of public electronic communications services to comply with personal data breach notification and recording requirements.

The main changes for the 2012 revision relate to new rules for websites using cookies, or similar technologies, as well as new powers that allow the information commissioner to fine organizations up to £500,000 for serious breaches of the regulations. The PECR cookie rules now demand website owners get consent from visitors before using cookies. This is in addition to the existing requirement for websites to provide information about their cookie usage. The cookie rules apply to any means of storing information or gaining access to information stored on a user’s device, except for where the storage or access is vital for a service requested by the user. The latest PECR rules also require communications providers to set up procedures for responding to requests for access to users’ personal data for national security and law enforcement purposes.

This was last updated in April 2012

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