Newsletters 20 June 2017

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 09 June – 16 June 2017

Internet Access

EU: Digital Assembly 2017 in Malta

  • On June 15 and 16, the 2017 edition of the Digital Assembly, hosted by the European Commission and the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, took place in Valletta, Malta. The theme chosen this year was ‘Digital Europe: Investing in the Future’.
  • The thematic working sessions focused on key priority issues such as the WiFi4EU initiative, which supports free Wi-Fi hotspots in communities across the EU; the data economy; interoperability and standardisation; Next Generation Internet; International connectivity; cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Participants included European Institutions and national governments representatives, as well as businesses and academics. Speakers included European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip; Roberto Viola, Director-General DG Connect, European Commission; and Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta.

EU: Roaming charges come to an end

  • On June 15, the Regulation regarding the rules for wholesale roaming markets (the prices operators charge each other when their customers use other networks when roaming in the EU) came into effect. Europeans travelling within EU Member States can now Roam Like at Home, paying domestic prices for roaming calls, SMS and data.
  • However, many telecoms providers have applied for exemptions, if only temporary, and in some EU countries (i.e. Poland) they are expected not to fully or properly implement the new rules.

EU: Joint position of the European Telecom Social Partners on the European Electronic Communications Code

  • On June 15, ETNO, the association representing Europe’s telecommunications network operators, and UNI Europa ICT, the European services workers union in ICT, released a joint statement on the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), the EU regulatory framework governing the telecommunications sector.
  • In the statement, the organisations argue that the EU needs digital and telecoms policies that are conducive to job creation and economic growth, and that the EECC plays a crucial role in this, stimulating higher levels of investment in the telecoms sector.
  • The paper also stresses the need for the timely and consistent availability of spectrum for the mobile industry, crucial for the success of 5G. Moreover, it highlights that longer license durations and incentives to invest are necessary for the telecom industry to increase infrastructure investment in Europe.

EU: Council of the EU: Working Party (WP) on Telecommunications and Information Society meet on 21 June

  • On June 21, the WP on Telecommunications and Information Society of the Council of the European Union, which handles policy issues related to ICT and infrastructure, Internet and the Digital Single Market, will hold its next meeting.
  • The agenda includes a discussion on the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), the regulatory framework governing the telecommunications sector.
  • The WP will also hold an exchange of views on the Spectrum section of the EECC and of the Council Presidency text on Spectrum.


EU: Article 29 WP addressed European Commission on EU-US Privacy Shield

  • On 13 June, the Article 29 Working Party (made up made up of a representative from the data protection authority (DPA) of each EU Member State) sent a letter to the European Commission outlining what they want to see in the EU-U.S. data transfer deal, the so-called “Privacy Shield.”
  • Article 29 WP asks for “precise evidence” on how U.S. intelligence services gather data and an explanation from U.S. authorities on when President Donald Trump’s administration will fill vacant positions of officials in charge of the protection of EU citizens’ data.
  • The Privacy Shield deal was struck a year ago and will be discussed when the European Commission visits Washington in September.

EU: EU-Japan free trade deal to cover data flows?

  • The EU and Japan will aim to reach a political agreement on their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) / Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in early July, but data flows will likely be absent as the EU position on the matter is not sufficiently mature.
  • Although 15 countries last month pushed for a more “ambitious” (read: trade-friendly) stance, other heavyweight countries like France have made it difficult for the Council of the EU to pressure the European Commission.

EU: upcoming Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU aims to make progress on single market packages

  • On June 14, the Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Maasikas presented his country’s priorities for its Presidency of the Council of the EU (July – December 2017) during the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg.
  • He confirmed that Estonia will aim to make headway on the target of completing all single market packages by 2018, focusing in particular on the Digital Single Market, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and Electronic Communication Code.
  • “Free movement of data is also important to us and we aim to make progress both on the Regulation on e-Privacy and on EU internal data protection rules”, Mr Maasikas said.

EU: Draft report on e-Privacy raises the stakes on privacy rules for electronic communications

  • On June 14, Marju Lauristin’s (S&D, Estonia) draft report on e-Privacy Regulation, which aims at updating the EU legal framework on ePrivacy, was published.
  • Among the several privacy-enhancing elements included in the draft, one would ban websites from refusing people a service if they don’t consent to share personal data beyond what is strictly “necessary for the provision of that service”. Another change makes “Do Not Track”, a mechanism which allows Internet users to reject cookies that track their browsing, legally enforceable.
  • The draft also strengthens protections for encrypted communications and against tracking on Wi-Fi networks and in closed “intranet” networks, and introduces a stricter requirement for software developers to ensure their default settings are privacy-friendly (“privacy by default”).
  • The EU aims to finalise the e-Privacy Regulation by May 2018.

EU: ENISA launched cyber security information service

  • On 15 June, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) launched its new cyber security information service, “Cyber Security Info Notes”, in the aim of providing timely key information and recommendations on cyber security topics and incidents.
  • “Cyber Security Info Notes” are briefing papers produced by ENISA on information security issues, to highlight assessed facts regarding information security related incidents and developments. ENISA’s main focus is to provide an independent opinion and to advise stakeholders targeted by these cyber-attacks.

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