The Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications that the European Commission recently proposed threatens the main business model utilized by digital media all over the world as it seeks to deny online outlets the right to serve ads to consumers unless their users explicitly agree to receive them. One of the provisions of the proposed legislation states that no individual "shall be denied access" to any feature of any online platform that can generally be considered as "free" if they refuse to watch ads or pay for content they are consuming in any other way, whether by opting for a monthly subscription or agreeing to share data with the online service they're trying to access.
The proposition would likely deal a major hit to the ad-supported business model utilized by the vast majority of contemporary online media that largely relies on advertising to survive, with recent estimates indicating that approximately 75 percent of all digital media revenue is generated through ads. Publishers would hence be forced to serve content to users who refuse to see ads or have their data shared with them under the threat of severe penalties. The regulation is widely thought to have the potential to shut down numerous publications around the world, as even those who operate outside of the Old Continent but serve content to Europeans would be subject to the rules, with European Parliament member Daniel Dalton recently stating that the legislation would effectively "break the current model of the Internet."
It's currently unclear how close is the European Commission to enacting the proposal in its present state, though a number of its provisions, including the one outlined above, go against some of the bloc's existing regulations. The European Union has recently been intensifying its efforts to draft new laws protecting user privacy yet it did so while engendering a number of industries; before its new proposal threatening digital media, the bloc recently suggested a Copyright Reform that could kill all big data and artificial intelligence (AI) startups on the continent by essentially putting an expiry date on them and preventing them from collecting and analyzing data three years after being founded without obtaining explicit consent from individual users.