Commission under pressure to protect consumers against 'IP tracking'

Members of the European Parliament have called on the European Commission to protect consumers’ privacy and personal data online by regulating the so-called “IP tracking” systems. Exemplary is the case of holidaymakers looking for cheap flights abroad, facing websites where prices tend to increase at each visit. An explanation can be “IP tracking”, when providers not only record the specific search request but also the IP address of the consumer. According to estimates, around 300 million users across Europe are potential victims of such practices.

MEPs from different political parties and countries have already approached EU's Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, and urged her to act. The Commission answered that the issue was in the hands of national authorities but that “the clients should be informed about the processing”. The Belgian MEP, Marc Tarabella (Socialists & Democrats) said the Commission should come up with a legislative proposal which would allow for a more harmonised approach at the European level. Parliamentarians hope that if Member States start adapting their national legislation to this particular issue, the Commission might be forced to reconsider the issue and streamline national laws into a European one. The French National Authority for Internet and Freedom (CNIL) has now launched an investigation.


Further information: Parliamentary question on IP tracking: Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission