European publishers press Brussels over online privacy rules

European publishers have stepped up the pressure on Brussels over new online privacy rules which they say will hand more power over digital advertising to Google and Facebook.

The chief executives of more than 30 publishing companies, including owners of the Daily Mail, the Guardian, Le Monde and Die Zeit newspapers, have written to the European Parliament and European Council outlining their concerns. The Financial Times is also a signatory to the letter.  

The move comes ahead of a meeting in the EU parliament on Monday to discuss the proposal — made in January — to update European regulations which will introduce what the European Commission calls the concept of “privacy by design”.

It is part of a wider attempt by Brussels to regulate big Silicon Valley groups more closely. The EU is in the middle of overhauling its data protection and copyright rules.

The proposed privacy changes would allow users to opt out of cookies — which track the pages people visit when they are surfing the internet — through browsers such as Google Chrome, rather than on individual websites.

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