The EU today unveiled draft rules in Brussels Tuesday that would give online users more control of their settings and limit the "overload of consent requests" for cookies people encounter when browsing the web.
The rules would extend the EU's ePrivacy law beyond telecommunications operators to include "new providers of electronic communications services, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Gmail, iMessage, or Viber," the regulator said.
"I want to ensure confidentiality of electronic communications and privacy," Andrus Ansip, EU vice president for the digital single market, said in statement. "Our draft ePrivacy Regulation strikes the right balance: it provides a high level of protection for consumers, while allowing businesses to innovate."
As a result, Google, Facebook Inc. and other Internet companies will be covered by strict new European rules that seek to limit access to consumers' data.
Google has been fighting EU antitrust probes for years, while Apple in August was ordered to pay as much as 13 billion euros ($14.6 billion) in unpaid taxes, plus interest, to Ireland.
The proposal for a new ePrivacy law comes just months after the EU adopted a complete overhaul of the bloc's data protection rules. They will take effect in May 2018 and for the first time give national privacy regulators the power to fine companies as much as 4 percent of their global annual sales for violations.