Building Trust 17 December 2017

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 2 Dec – 8 Dec 2017

Internet Access

EU: EU Telecommunications Ministers agree on 5G roadmap

  • At the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council meeting on December 4-5, the EU telecoms Ministers agreed on a joint roadmap for the development of 5G networks in the EU.
  • The roadmap establishes a common understanding on the harmonisation of 5G spectrum bands and their allocation to telecommunications operators across Europe, laying out main activities and their time frame.
  • By 2025, the Ministers want to see 5G deployed in large cities and along major transport routes of every EU country.

EU: BEREC and the European Electronic Communications Code: little progress on spectrum

  • On December 4, at the TTE meeting, the Council took another step towards updating the rules for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication.
  • Member States have largely opposed the Commission’s proposal to strengthen BEREC’s role by giving it the legal status of an EU regulatory agency. They preferred to keep “nearly the characteristics of the current structure” while preserving most competences of the national regulators to implement rules to local contexts.
  • The EU Members have also stated that BEREC’s tasks are closely linked to the content of the European Electronic Communications Code and thus the two files will be discussed in parallel. The aim is to complete both pieces of legislation during the first half of 2018.
  • On December 6, the second trilogue meeting on the European Electronic Communications Code took place. The co-legislators and the Commission made little progress towards a compromise on spectrum-related issues. These include minimum duration licenses and the peer-review. It is expected that the next trilogue meeting and the technical sessions in between will continue to focus mostly on spectrum provisions.

EU: EU urges to do more to fight terrorism online

  • On December 6, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King hosted the third EU Internet Forum’s Ministerial meeting.
  • The Commissioners urged Internet giants to do more to stop the proliferation of extremist content online. For them, it is crucial that terrorist content is detected and removed before it reaches users.
  • Many of the online platforms which are part of the EU Internet Forum are increasingly developing automatic tools for detection and removal of terrorist content online. As previously reported, Facebook now uses Artificial Intelligence to stop the spread of terrorist content. Google’s EMEA President, Matt Brittin, has also said significant progress has been made over the last year in the speed and accuracy of removals.


UK: NCSC warns government against using Kaspersky software

  • The National Cyber Security Centre cautioned the Government not to use Kaspersky antivirus software over Russian snooping concerns.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre Chief, Ciaran Martin, sent a letter to other departments warning them that Russia, “a highly capable cyber threat actor which uses cyber as a tool of statecraft,” has the intent to target the UK and its critical infrastructure.
  • Kaspersky has denied allegations about the safety of its products or ties to the Russian Government.

EU: Draft Action Plan on cybersecurity

  • On December 5, a draft action plan for the implementation of the Council’s conclusions on building strong cybersecurity for the EU was published. The document sets deadlines for key initiatives aimed at building and strengthening the EU’s cybersecurity capabilities.
  • The full transposition and implementation of the Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive) is expected by May 2018, while the adoption of the Regulation on ENISA, the “EU Cybersecurity Agency”, and on Information and Communication Technology cybersecurity certification (”Cybersecurity Act”) is foreseen by the end of 2018.
  • The document also sets June 2018 as a deadline for the establishment of the Network of Cybersecurity Competence Centres (NCCC) with a European Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre.

EU: TTE Council discusses ePrivacy and free flow of data

  • On December 4, the Telecoms Council discussed the Commission’s proposals on a new ePrivacy Regulation and the Regulation of the Free Flow of Data.
  • On ePrivacy, the Ministers noted some progress has been made, but many issues require further negotiations before the general approach can be agreed. Digital European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel stressed the need to align this proposal with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • The EU Ministers also discussed the draft Regulation on the Free Flow of Data showing support for the Commission’s proposal and the desire to adopt it swiftly. The compromise text on the file produced by the Presidency of the Council will be discussed at the next Telecom’s Working Party meeting on December 11.

EU: EU-US data transfer deal poses significant concerns on privacy

  • The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party published its report on the Privacy Shield following the first Joint Annual Review by the European Commission and the US Administration.
  • In the report, the European privacy watchdogs argue “a number of significant concerns” need to be addressed, such as the appointment of an independent ombudsperson. The Working Party has called on the European Commission and the US authorities to restart discussions, adding that “an action plan has to be set up immediately to demonstrate that all these concerns will be addressed.”
  • If no changes are adopted before the entry into force of the GDPR in May 2018, the national Supervisory Authorities will bring the Privacy Shield to the national courts, followed by a referral to the European Court of Justice.

EU: JHA Council holds policy debate on encryption

  • On December 7, the EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers held a joint discussion on encryption reflecting the list of measures proposed by the Commission in October.
  • The technical measures include creating a new “toolbox” of alternative techniques to help national law enforcement break encryption; setting up a network of points of expertise; and provide training to law enforcement and judicial authorities.
  • The Ministers have also discussed data retention and gave guidance for further discussions at expert level, notably: encouraging coherence with the draft ePrivacy Regulation, restricting the scope of the data retention framework and ensure safeguards for access to retained data.

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