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EU Issues Overview – 27 January – 3 February 2017

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Date: 6 Feb 2017

Document Type: Newsletters

Author(s): Frédéric Donck

Tags: Europe

Internet Access

EU: Mobile Roaming Charges will end by summer

  • European institutions reached an informal deal this week on a 90 percent drop in maximum wholesale roaming prices. They will be capped at €7.75 per gigabyte from June 15, decreasing to €6 as of January 1, 2018. The fees will slide to €4.50 per gigabyte in 2019, €3.50 in 2020, €3 in 2021 and €2.50 in 2022.
  • The wholesale roaming reform was the last piece of legislation required before retail roaming surcharges can be abolished on 15 June 2017.

EU: Parliament allocates work on European Electronic Communications Code

  • The division of work in the European Parliament on the European Electronic Communications Code has now been determined. The Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) will lead on many sections, including network access, spectrum, and governance.
  • However, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) will have a lot of say on the services section of the code. The IMCO Committee will have “exclusive” competence on a number of articles in this section, including on end-user rights.

EU: Digital Transformation Scoreboard 2017 Released

  • The scoreboard is a survey-based effort to measure digital transformation in Europe.
  • It forms a part of the Digital Transformation Monitor framework and was released at the Digitising European Industry Stakeholder Forum in Essen. It found that 64% of companies investing in digital technologies have generated positive outcomes.

UK: ISPA calls on government to foster broadband roll-out

  • Responding to a UK government consultation, the Internet Service Providers’ Association expressed support for the Government’s commitment to assisting providers in rolling out fiber networks.
  • It called on the Government to prioritise reducing the high costs and administrative burdens of existing regulatory barriers and stresses that infrastructure investments are market-led.

Trust

EU: Memorandum of Understanding on fight against cyber crime

  • Europol and the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to decrease systemic cyber risk and improving internet security. Amongst other measures, they will exchange information on cybercrime trends and join international projects to increase cybersecurity.

EU: ENISA Report on critical protection

  • ENISA, the European Agency for Network and Information Security, has published a report on how to safeguard critical infrastructure against cyber threats.
  • The report provides insight into the current communication network interdependencies currently in industrial infrastructures and environments. It identifies potential good practices and security measures.

Germany: Consumer organization files lawsuit against WhatsApp over privacy rules

  • Consumer Organisation VZBV filed a complaint in Berlin against WhatsApp to challenge the change of the company’s privacy policies and data sharing with its parent company Facebook.
  • VZBV is the first to take the issue to court in Europe. Meanwhile, national privacy watchdogs are jointly investigating the WhatsApp relationship with Facebook, and have asked twice for explanations.

EU: Council Experts’ meeting in Malta to discuss data privacy and protection

  • This week, Member States’ Attaches met in Malta to exchange views on data related questions.
  • The Maltese Council said it would promote and enhance cooperation with the Commission to revise the Convention for the protection of individuals with regards to automatic processing of personal data.

EU: May suggests EU-UK data transfer deal

  • In her 12-point Brexit plan published this week, British Prime Minister Theresa May highlighted the importance of data transfer for financial services, tech and energy companies, and announced that the UK will seek a data transfer deal with the EU once Brexit is carried out.
  • The recent ECJ ruling condemning the UK’s data retention practices has made this deal more difficult.

UK: Culture Committee to investigate fake news

  • Britain’s House of Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport announced it will investigate fake news. Members aim to provide a definition of fake news, identify vulnerable targets, and seek to determine how the BBC can intervene to counter the phenomenon in the U.K.
  • MPs will also examine whether search engines and social media companies need to take more of a responsibility in controlling fake news.

UK: ICO warns about marketers selling personal information

  • The British data protection commissioner fined an online marketer £20,000 for selling more than 580,000 records containing people’s details. The firm that bought the information then sent 21 000 spam texts.

EU: Trump’s impact on data protection agreements

  • Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in t’Veld sent a letter to Justice Commissioner Jourova last week, asking her about the impact of Trump’s ordered exemptions to the US Privacy Act on the legality of transatlantic transfer of personal data. She requested details of her discussion with the new US Administration in order to ensure that these new exemptions to the US Privacy Act were lifted without delay.

EU: Commission King’s keynote speech on approaching cyber threats

  • In a recent keynote speech at a cybersecurity workshop at the University of Oxford, Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union outlined the EU approach to growing cybersecurity threats.
  • The EU’s policy response has four stands: strengthening cyber resilience through the NIS Directive; stepping up the fight against cybercrime through the European Cybercrime Centre at Europol (EC3); increasing support for innovation in the field of cybersecurity; and reinforcing international cooperation.

EU: Joint Statement by Vice-President Ansip and Justice Commissioner Jourová

  • Ahead of the EU Data Protection Day, the Commissioners gave a joint statement on data protection.
  • They announced that the Commission would “build on the important achievements to ensure that citizens and businesses benefit from strong and clear data protection rules”. They aim to “make the EU data protection standard a global standard."

Review of the Digital Single Market Strategy

  • As announced in its Work Programme, the Commission is reviewing the Digital Single Market Strategy. On Tuesday, Vice President Ansip met with a number of other Commissioners to discuss this work.
  • In a blog article, Ansip specifically highlighted cybersecurity as an area in which he believes more could be done in relation to the Digital Single Market.

EU: Cyber attacks continue EU-wide

  • Throughout January, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs encountered cyberattacks. Experts believe the attacks were “most likely conducted by another country”.
  • Researchers have discovered weaknesses in the Dutch voting system. The electoral commission is waiting for an audit of its software, however, just six weeks before the elections it may be too late to close security holes. The Dutch have therefore announced that their votes will be counted manually.
  • During a conference on Europe’s digital integrated market, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi announced his aim to improve the cyber defenses for financial market infrastructures.