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Newsletters 23 October 2017

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 14 Oct – 20 Oct 2017

Internet Access

EU: European operators CEOs address Council President Tusk on telecoms reform

  • On October 19, in a joint letter to European Government leaders and telecoms ministers, a large group of companies argued the European Parliament’s changes to the Electronic Communications Code remove the stability required to spur investment in 5G and fibre infrastructure.
  • The telecoms companies’ CEOs believe strong and reliable investment incentives and predictable spectrum licenses are needed. Moreover, the empowerment of telcos to compete on the same terms as Internet players is deemed crucial.
  • The European Parliament introduced numerous amendments to the telecommunications reform, including proposals to tackle potential “oligopolies” in telecoms markets and new price regulation on international calling rates within the EU.
  • The signatories are the members of the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO). They include Deutsche Telekom, BT Group, Orange, Telefónica, Telecom Italia, Nokia, Ericsson and Orange.

EU: Trilogues on the European Electronic Communications Code

  • With both co-legislators (the European Parliament and the Council of the EU) having reached their initial positions on the telecoms reform the first trilogue (informal meeting between these institutions and the Commission) will take place on 25 October.
  • A clear agenda for the negotiations is not yet available, however it is expected that they will continue well on into 2018.

EU: Qualcomm announces first 5G data connection on a mobile device

  • On October 17, Qualcomm, the mobile technology manufacturer, announced it has achieved 1Gbps mobile Internet speeds using its first dedicated 5G chip.
  • According to the company spokesperson, this was a very initial-stage demonstration, but it proves the steady progress being made.
  • Some critics have already spoken out on the issue. According to Prof William Webb, an independent consultant and expert, “5G is not yet clearly defined, and Qualcomm has simply postulated what thinks it will look like.”


NL: Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) criticises Windows 10

  • According to a report published on October 13, the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system breaches data protection rules in The Netherlands, collecting data of a sensitive nature. The Dutch DPA argued that users were not clearly informed about what data the company was using.
  • The Dutch DPA is considering whether to sanction Microsoft.
  • Microsoft has replied to the accusation in a blogpost, saying “it is a priority that Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro are clearly compliant under Dutch law” and that “we welcome the opportunity to continue to work with the Dutch DPA on their comments.”

EU: EP LIBE Committee adopts report introducing stronger data protection practices from EU institutions and bodies

  • On October 12, the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) adopted its report on the Protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and the free movement of such data.
  • The new law updates the EU’s responsibilities bringing them in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will enter into force in May 2018. The LIBE Committee introduced specific rules for processing of law enforcement data and further strengthening transparency.
  • At the end of the month, the European Parliament will vote on the report during its plenary session in Strasbourg.

EU: Article 29 Working Party releases new guidelines for businesses

EU: Council discusses Digital Single Market and cybersecurity

  • The Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union (COREPER I) met in Brussels on October 18-20.
  • Following up on the Tallinn Digital Summit and in preparation for the next Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council meeting on October 24, the Permanent Representatives discussed the implementation of the Digital Single Market Strategy (DSM Strategy) and the new cybersecurity proposals
  • According to the most recent European Council Conclusions (October 19), at the next TTE meeting, EU Ministers will be invited to share their views on how to boost investments in cyber security and identify the next steps needed to achieve next generation connectivity.
  • The Council conclusions call on EU countries to cooperate in deploying 5G within the bloc, and increase coordinated availabilities of spectrum.

EU: Commission stresses intention not to weaken encryption

  • On October 18, while announcing a number of new initiatives on counter-terrorism, EU Security Commissioner Julian King reiterated that European Commission does not intend to weaken encryption.
  • The Commission is calling for a new network of encryption experts, and is calling on member states to develop a “tool box of alternative investigation techniques that police can use to obtain needed information encrypted by criminals.”
  • The Commission also announced that it will add an extra €500,000 for police training on encryption next year.

EU: EP LIBE Committee adopts report on Privacy and Electronic Communications

  • After long and intricate negotiations, on October 19, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) adopted its draft report on Privacy and Electronic Communications, which aims at updating the EU legal framework on ePrivacy.
  • The report strengthens protections for encrypted communications, ruling out so-called “backdoors” that would allow access to encrypted messages.
  • The document also calls for stricter requirements for software developers to guarantee their settings are privacy-friendly from their conception (“privacy by default”).
  • The EU aims to finalise the e-Privacy Regulation before 25 May 2018, when its new data protection rules (the GDPR) will also come into force.


EU: “Digital Nine” meets in Stockholm to discuss EU’s digital agenda

  • On October 18, the Ministers of the Digital 9 group (D9) met in Stockholm to discuss the EU’s Digital Single Market, including the role of platforms in the digital economy and the removal of illegal content online, cybersecurity, as well as the legislative proposal on free data flows across the region.
  • The D9 group is made up of digital frontrunner states, notably Ireland and Nordic, Benelux and Baltic countries. It aims to identify and promote the implementation of strategic digitalization measures, and to encourage a closer dialogue with industry.
  • The next meeting will likely be held in Ireland in 2018.
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