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Newsletters 24 July 2017

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 14 July – 21 July 2017

Internet Access

EU: EU-28 signed 5G network declaration

  • On July 18, the EU and Norwegian Ministers for competitiveness and telecoms signed a declaration on a common foundation for a future 5G network, during an informal meetingheld in Tallinn.
  • The Tallinn’s declaration reads that the EU countries are committed to make more spectrum available “in a timely and predictable manner.” The Member States will adopt legislation that ensures access to spectrum in a non-discriminatory way as well as improving on the conditions to deploy optical fiber.
  • Ahead of the ministerial meeting, the European Telecommunications Networks Organisation (ETNO) urged policy makers in a press release to be ambitious in the deployment of 5G networks and new services “fuelled by data innovation”.

UK: Digital Economy Act includes provisions to boost digital connectivity

  • On July 17, the UK Digital Minister Matt Hancock signed the Digital Economy Act 2017aimed at improving digital connectivity across the UK.
  • Some of the provisions have already come into force, such as the implementation of a new broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO). The initiative also aims at cutting costs for new infrastructure and simplifying planning rules to reach greater coverage in the country.

EU: EIB to invest EUR 480 million in high-speed Internet and improving communication

  • On July 18, the board of the European Investment Bank approved new financing tools amounting EUR 12.4 billion of which EUR 480 million will be allocated to improving high-speed Internet across the EU.

Trust

EU: VP Ansip answer question on cybersecurity and SMEs

  • On July 18, the European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip answered a parliamentary question on security in the Union where he mentioned that in the next three years the EU will invest EUR 450 million in calls for proposals linked to the European Cybersecurity Organisation (ECSO), a cybersecurity contractual public private partnership (cPPP) signed in 2016.
  • Moreover, the Commission will establish a Cybersecurity Smart Specialisation Platform, which will bring together regional clusters (i.e. companies, SMEs, research centres, universities etc.), “to allow them to team up around the cybersecurity value chain.”

EU-UK: European Commissioner Jourova on status of UK citizens’ personal data post-Brexit

  • On July 17, answering to a parliamentary question, the Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová guaranteed that “Brexit will have no influence on the protection of UK citizens’ personal data by the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. The EU guarantees the same level of protection to all individuals, regardless of their nationality, said Commissioner Jourová.

France: French court refers “right to be forgotten” case to the ECJ

  • On July 19, the French Supreme Court referred the Google’s case over the territorial scope of the so-called “right to be forgotten” to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The “right to be forgotten” allows citizens to demand that search engines delist incorrect, inadequate or irrelevant information regarding themselves.
  • Currently, Google enforces this rule, but only in the individual’s home territory. In March 2016, the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) believed this not to be enough and fined Google EUR 100,000 for failing to enforce globally the right to be forgotten. Google appealed to the French Supreme Court (Council of State).

EU: EP LIBE Committee circulates amendments to e-Privacy Regulation draft report

  • More than 800 amendments were tabled in the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) to MEP Marju Lauristin (S&D, EE)’s draft report on the e-Privacy Regulation. The draft report includes measures to enforce the use of end-to-end encryption without Governments being able to impose technological backdoors.
  • Since MEP Lauristin will run for the Estonian elections later this year, her colleague Birgit Sippel (S&D, DE) will take on her role as a rapporteur on this file. This development is not expected to have any substantial implication in the text.

EU: EU ministers, VP Ansip and Commissioner Gabriel discuss free movement of data in Tallinn

  • On July 18, at the Informal Council Meeting on Competitiveness and Telecommunications in Tallinn, ministers discussed how to better exploit the potential of a free movement of data. Vice-President Ansip and the new Digital Commissioner Maryam Gabriel were present at the meeting.
  • Commissioner Gabriel stated that free flow of data is a “great opportunity” for EU citizens. She argued the European Commission “will continue supporting an open approach that ensures that the most innovative services provided globally are available in the EU”, while ensuring a high level of data protection. The Commissioner stressed the importance of removing data localisation restrictions in the EU and that measures on data ownership, access and liability need to be taken. Vice President Ansip stressed the urgency to build a cross-border and data-focused economy, addressing data localisation rules and encouraging the re-use of collected data for new products and services.

UK: House of Lords published 3rd report on “Brexit: the EU data protection package”

  • On July 18, the House of Lords’ European Union Committee published a report looking into four elements of the EU’s data protection package: the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Police and Criminal Justice Directive (PCJ), the EU-US Privacy Shield and the EU-US Umbrella Agreement.
  • The report urges the UK Government to ensure that transitional arrangements for data-sharing between the EU and the UK are agreed to cover the interim period. The House of Lords also invites the Government to start seeking “to secure a continuing role for the Information Commissioner’s Office on the European Data Protection Board”.
  • Both the GDPR and the PCJ will enter into force in May 2018, whereas the EU-US Privacy Shield and EU-US Umbrella Agreement are already in force but will cease to apply to the UK post-Brexit.
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