Internet Access

EU: Commission and Parliament disagreements on the telecom reform

  • On 20 March, the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy released its draft report on the Commission’s telecom proposal – setting a first draft position for the Parliament in the forthcoming negotiations.
  • Amongst other things, the draft proposes minimum 30-year licenses for spectrum and moved towards greater regulation of Over-The-Top services.

EU: European Parliament assessment of the impact of Brexit on telecommunication policies

  • According to a report from the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and released by the newspaper Politico, UK’s departure from the EU may impact the functioning of the telecoms regulation and raise questions about the future of airwaves spectrum, mobile roaming charges as well as the British involvement in research programs.

EU: EU Member States step forward at the EU Digital Day

  • At the occasion of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Rome treaties, 29 countries signed a letter of intent to support the development of connected cars.
  • Seven countries have also signed a letter supporting supercomputers and cloud systems.
  • The Commission introduced a new European Interoperability Framework to help member states set up interoperable digital public services.


EU: Commission’s top scientific advisers publish opinion on cybersecurity in the Digital Single Market

  • On 24 March, the High-Level Group of the Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) published an opinion on cybersecurity with recommendations to improve online access and safety for people and businesses.
  • The opinion called for a global cybersecurity governance framework and underlined the need to make systems more secure, to empower users, to strengthen Europe’s cybersecurity industry and to improve coordination on cyber-incidents.

EU: Maltese presidency focus on the need to increase confidence in the Digital Single Market

  • On 21 March, at the European Consumer Day conference on the Digital Single Market organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Maltese Minister for Social Dialogue Helena Dalli argued that “boosting the DSM is a necessity” while ensuring a higher level of protection for consumers.
  • She recalled that the current Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union put the DSM as a top priority of its agenda through the discussions over the recast of the e-commerce package, the geo-blocking proposal and the end of roaming charges.

EU: Data transfer talks with Japan

  • On 20 March, at CeBIT, a European conference on digital solutions, the European Union started official negotiations with Japan to strike a deal on data transfers.
  • The discussions will tackle four key areas: promoting high standards of data protection and facilitating free flow of data; promoting industrial cooperation involving small and medium-sized enterprises; strengthening the dialogue on the challenges of the data economy to promote mutual learning, share best practices and promote alignment; and jointly improving tools to measure impacts of the data economy.

Germany: Hacking revelations ahead of elections

  • German officials revealed that in May 2015, the German Parliament computer system was infiltrated for three weeks. They suspected a team of Russian hackers with links to the Kremlin was responsible for the hacking.
  • The country fears that the gathered information could be used to disrupt the upcoming elections in September.

UK: Google action plan to tackle inappropriate video platform content

  • Google took action to respond to growing concerns from advertisers on extremist and offensive content on Google’s video platform, YouTube.
  • The tech group announced a broadening of its definition of inappropriate content, and that it would strengthen the enforcement of the notice-and-takedown process and support the development of artificial intelligence solutions to speed up the review of questionable content. The company will also introduce additional controls for advertisers to manage exactly where their ads appear on YouTube and across other Google services.

Global: Record number of Twitter accounts shut to combat extremism

  • According to the company latest transparency report, Twitter suspended about 276,000 accounts between July and December 2016, an increase of 17 percent from the January-June period in 2015.
  • The European Commission hopes that voluntary guidelines will help tackle the issues of hate speech and fake news ahead of national elections in France and in Germany.