Newsletters 3 March 2017

EU Issues Overview – 17 February – 24 February 2017

Internet Access

EU: Ansip to talk 5G during World Mobile Congress

  • Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip announced that at next week’s World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, he will speak about 5G networks and the 5G economy.
  • He stressed the need for high-performance connectivity for digital consumer services, industry digitisation and big data, and said a new generation of networks and infrastructure was necessary for the development of IoT.

EU: EPRS briefing on wholesale roaming regulation

  • The European Parliament’s Research Service issued a briefing on the wholesale roaming regulation – which will significantly reduce roaming data wholesale caps.
  • The briefing offers an overview of the content and the next steps – being a plenary vote in the Parliament.

Global: ITU agrees on key 5G performance requirements for IMT-2020

  • On 23 February, the International Telecommunication Unioncompleteda cycle of studies on the key performance requirements of 5G technologies for the IMT-2020 standard.
  • This standard will underpin future broadband communications and the Internet of Things for the future. It should be in place by 2020.

EU: Vodafone leaves ECTA after dispute over telecoms reform

  • The telecoms company has left the industry association ECTA based on disagreements over the ongoing European telecoms reform.
  • According to Vodafone “ECTA has expressed reservations and is not prioritizing measures proposed in the Electronic Communications Code that will encourage operators to co-invest in high capacity networks and give investors access to passive network infrastructure”.

EU: Council divided on OTT

  • 7 Member States, including Sweden, the Czech Republic, Latvia and the UK, are advocating for a market-driven approach in defense of “Over The Top” services (e.g. Skype, WhatsApp), arguing that the new European Electronic Communications Code could stifle innovation by imposing too many burdens on these players.
  • Other countries are meanwhile pushing to regulate them, calling for example for guarantees of customer access to emergency numbers and services.

Global: Lack of common definition of 5G

  • The Financial Times has reported on the failure of telecommunications companies to agree on a common direction for 5G technology. Different regions (Europe, the US, South Korea) are developing the technology in very different directions. There are concerns also about the fragmentation of the spectrum used for 5G across different regions and countries.


EU: Germany and France call on EU to enhance cybersecurity

  • France and Germany’s Interior ministers called on the European Commission to address terrorism through stronger travel checks and cybersecurity rules. They asked the executive to propose a new legislative initiative by October this year, and reiterated the need to review the EU’s cybersecurity strategy of 2013.

EU: Adblockers not covered by ePrivacy Review

  • The Commission has reportedly said that adblockers will not be covered by the section of the revised ePrivacy Directive covering cookies.
  • Some previous reports indicated that they would be covered, which would have meant that websites would not be able to block access if viewers use adblocking software.
  • The Commission is now saying that websites will be able to monitor whether users are using adblocking software – and elect to block access on that basis.

Hopes for new Regulation on Free Flow of Data Receding

  • Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip has been a strong supporter of the need for a new regulation to reduce barriers to the free flow of Data within the EU.
  • Following opposition from France and others, however, in January 2017 the Commission came forward with just a communication on the subject, saying it would gather further evidence on whether legislation was necessary.
  • Although the Commission is still consulting on this issue, reports indicate that it is unlikely Ansip will be able to build enough support for the regulation. Opponents claim better enforcement of existing legislation can overcome the problem.

EU: Trust in online world fundamental to DSM

  • Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip released a blog post claiming that reinforcing trust and confidence online is a fundamental component of the DSM.
  • To support this, the EU developed the eIDAS regulation, which provides the legal environment beyond an EU country’s borders for electronic identification and trust services that can be applied across Europe.
  • On 20 February, Germany became the first country to pre-notifythe Commission of the online ID function of its national identity card and electronic residence permit.

The Netherlands: Cybersecurity measures ahead of national election

  • Ahead of its national election on 15 March, the Dutch government decided to ban IT systems from the election process to prevent any doubt over the outcome.
  • The decision, based on recent reports of Russian cyber threats, may come to the detriment of the liberal party D66, which presents itself as the digital party.
  • The Election Council, which organizes the national elections, is still waiting for an audit of its cybersecurity systems.

EU: Europe needs to build up cyber defences

  • In an opinion piece published on the online publication Politico (behind paywall), Tim Stuchtey, executive director of the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS), and his colleague Tyson Barker argue cyber insurance is key to addressing today’s cyber risks.
  • They explain that the EU has made digital transformation a core component of its plans for future competitiveness, but that that goal will remain out of reach until business owners receive assurances that they are protected from digital risk.

Global: Google and CWI Institute break cryptographic technology

  • After two years, Google and CWI Institute in Amsterdam managed to demonstrate an attack on the SHA-1 cryptographic algorithm.
  • The algorithm is used to verify the authenticity of digital documents and has been used for Internet security for a decade.
  • According to a Google blog post, the findings emphasise that it is time for the industry to move on to more secure alternatives.

UK: Hacker of Deutsche Telekom routers arrested

  • On Wednesday, British police arrested a man suspected of hacking more than one million Deutsche Telekom routers in late November 2016.
  • The man allegedly planned to turn the hacked routers into a botnet and then rent out access to the network, an endeavour that German officials described as “an especially severe case of computer sabotage” when issuing the European arrest warrant.

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