Details of Ed Vaizey's meeting with Eric Schmidt on 18th May 2011

Alexander Hanff made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Alexander Hanff

Dear Department for Culture, Media and Sport,

It has come to my attention that Ed Vaizey held a private meeting with Eric Schmidt on (or around) 18th May 2011.

Please provide details of the purpose of this meeting.

Please also provide minutes of this meeting and if no minutes were taken please explain why.

Please provide copies of any correspondence between DCMS or Ed Vaizey and Google or Eric Schmidt regarding the upcoming changes to UK Law in relation to the changes to 5(3) of the ePrivacy Directive.

Yours faithfully,

Alexander Hanff

HALPERN DANIEL, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Hanff

Ref: 176143

Thank you for your request of 27 May 2011

This read:

"It has come to my attention that Ed Vaizey held a private meeting with
Eric Schmidt on (or around) 18th May 2011.

Please provide details of the purpose of this meeting.

Please also provide minutes of this meeting and if no minutes were taken
please explain why.

Please provide copies of any correspondence between DCMS or Ed Vaizey and
Google or Eric Schmidt regarding the upcoming changes to UK Law in
relation to the changes to 5(3) of the ePrivacy Directive."

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I can confirm that Ed Vaizey had no meeting with Eric Schmidt on 18 May.
He did attend the Google Big Tent Event with the Secretary of State on 18
May, but only as a member of audience. The press release is available at
: [1]http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/news_stor.... I have
attached a copy of a note which was shared with Google and others to
clarify a number of legal issues for business. This was sent ahead of a
similar letter which was placed on the DCMS website. (I have attached a
copy of that second letter for information).

We do hold further information relating to your request for copies of
correspondence with Google. However, this may be exempt from disclosure
under section section 35 (development of policy) and 43 (commercial
interests) of the Freedom of Information Act. Under these exemptions we
are required to weigh the balance of public interest in releasing the
information against the arguments in favour of withholding it.
Unfortunately we have not yet completed our decision. I hope it will be
possible to conclude discussions quickly and will write to you again by 21
July.

If you have any further queries, please feel free to contact me on 020
7211 6919 or at [email address]

Yours sincerely

Daniel Halpern

Freedom of Information Team

DCMS

show quoted sections

HALPERN DANIEL, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Dear Mr Hanff

Re your request for information - ref 176143 - Google and E-privacy
Directive

I wrote to you on 27 June releasing some information under the terms of
your request but extending the deadline to consider the public interest in
releasing further information or withholding it under section 35
(development of policy) and 43 (commercial interests) of the Freedom of
Information Act.

The public interest decision has now been completed and I am pleased to
set out below the remaining information; an email from Matt Brittin of
Google to Ed Vaizey.

Please note that I have redacted email addresses and any names of junior
officials copied into the email under section 40 (personal information) of
the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Halpern

Freedom of Information Team

DCMS

020 7211 6919

From: Matt Brittin
Sent: 06 May 2011 14:48
To: [Ed Vaizey]
Subject: Revised ePrivacy Directive

Dear Ed,

Google welcomed the UK Government's recent positive response on the
revised ePrivacy directive. In particular, how a user will gain consent
in the context of clarity about the purposes of access to their
information. We also welcomed the Government's support for the
cross-industry self-regulatory initiative for behavioural advertising in
meeting the requirements of the Directive.

We will also continue to work with the Government to enhance users'
ability to understand and organise web browser settings and other
applications to their choice. Our agreed approach was to make
participants in the advertising value chain responsible for the provision
of clear information to the user alongside straightforward tools for
managing the use of cookies and data.

However, the drafting of the Statutory Instrument (which the Internet
Advertising Bureau (IAB) has shared confidentially with us and which we
are disappointed to hear has already been laid) adds new language to that
of Recital 66 to the effect that consent is given by the subscriber or
user via the amendment or setting of controls. We are extremely concerned
about the implications of this. This is not the wording in the Directive
and therefore is not the approach that the DCMS consulted upon last year.
As such, it appears to be `gold-plating' a European Directive in a way we
understand the Coalition Government has committed not to do. The language
of Recital 66 itself is quite sufficient without making it technically
prescriptive in this way. It says: "Where it is technically possible and
effective, in accordance with the relevant provisions of Directive
95/46/EC, the user's consent to processing may be expressed by using the
appropriate settings of a browser or other application".

Both the French and Irish Government's wording on browsers are almost
verbatim from Recital 66 and are, as a result, far more business-friendly.
The UK is currently the largest per capita e-commerce market in the world
and we risk throwing our competitive advantage away if the UK does not
reconsider its approach towards the implementation of this Directive. It
is worth noting that the French seem unconcerned about transposing the
Directive late in order to consult with valued industry stakeholders on
their proposals. We would urge the UK to take a similar approach to ensure
that industry are given a chance to feed in to the process before
legislation is passed.

Best wishes,

Matt

--
Matt Brittin - MD UK & Ireland Operations, Google

show quoted sections

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org